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Jon Gruden lawsuit not expected to be issue for NFL in 2022

Matt Johnson

Former NFL coach Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the league for ‘selectively leaking emails’ that forced him to resign from the Las Vegas Raiders. While he secured a huge legal victory against the NFL in May, he might be in for a court battle.

Gruden’s legal action against the NFL came months after he resigned as Raiders’ head coach on Oct. 11, 2021, following the release of emails highlighting his use of misogynistic and homophobic language in emails. He never denied using the language, which included using a racist trope in 2011 to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.

However, Gruden believes the emails were obtained by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal because the NFL intentionally leaked them to reporters. The intent, in his mind, was to force him out of the NFL for good.

A judge recently ruled in Gruden’s favor with a May decision that his case could be heard in an open court. It served as a blow for the NFL, which pushed for the matter to be moved into arbitration so any findings couldn’t go public. While Gruden secured the first legal victory, it could also lead to a court battle that drags into 2023.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk explained on The Rich Eisen Show why he believes Gruden’s lawsuit against the NFL won’t be an immediate issue for the league or the team in 2022.

Related: Why the Jon Gruden lawsuit could be a big problem for the NFL

“I believe it will not be an issue at any point this year for the team. What will happen is the ruling from a couple of weeks ago – that the case doesn’t have to go to arbitration, the case is allowed to proceed in a normal courtroom setting – the NFL will appeal that to every higher court.”

Mike Florio on the Jon Gruden lawsuit

This is the NFL’s M.O. when facing court battles. The most recent example can be found in the suit filed by St. Louis against the league and Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke. The Missouri Supreme Court had to step in, refusing to block an order requiring the NFL to present financial records. An appeals court also denied the NFL’s proposal to move the suit out of St. Louis.

The worst-case scenario for the NFL is private information about the league and its owners being revealed during a discovery process. It’s why the league settled both the Colin Kaepernick lawsuit and paid St. Louis a $790 million settlement.

However, league officials might not experience that this time around. Gruden is likely never working in pro football again and with enough money already made, his interests likely aren’t financial. Operating with the belief that the NFL hung him out to dry while protecting other owners and executives, this suit could be the only way for him to get back at commissioner Roger Goodell and the rest of the league.

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We’ll likely get more updates later this year regarding the NFL’s efforts to move this into arbitration, filing appeal after appeal. If all of those efforts are unsuccessful, then we could have a story that hangs over the 2023 offseason.

Related: NFL predictions 2022