Gruden stepped down in the wake of reports about him using homophobic and misogynistic language, as well as a racist trope, in a series of emails sent between 2011-18. The emails were uncovered in the NFL’s investigation into misconduct within the Washington Football Team organization.
As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes, that investigation began in July 2020, with a punishment announced on July 1 of this year. Yet the Raiders were not made aware of any Gruden emails until “early in the week of October 4,” per Florio.
If the NFL knew about the existence of Gruden’s emails by this summer at the latest, it is fair to wonder why the league didn’t let the Raiders know about them earlier. Perhaps this would have allowed the team to avoid having its head coach step down mid-season.
“So why did the Raiders get emails about which the league had known for months during the regular season? If this had come to a head in, January, owner Mark Davis could have hired a new coach who would have spent the offseason preparing to move forward,” Florio writes. “If the league had waited until after the current season ended, Davis could have replaced Gruden then. Instead, the delivery of the emails to the Raiders — coupled with the making of just enough of them public — forced the team’s hand.”
The league knew about the Jon Gruden emails no later than June 2021; by waiting to bring the situation to a head in early October, the NFL undermined the Raiders' competitive interests and compromised the integrity of the entire season. https://t.co/NsWCoZrjEN
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 16, 2021
This is just one of the many frustrating things about the handling of this issue. The NFL has refused to release more of its findings, and are we really supposed to believe that “no other current team or league personnel” sent any problematic emails that the league uncovered during its investigation?
It doesn’t seem plausible, to say the least.