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Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly believes NFL out to get team, ‘hit job’ led to Jon Gruden scandal

Matt Johnson

The Las Vegas Raiders are entering the post-Jon Gruden era after the NFL emails scandal dominated headlines all week and led to the Raiders’ iconic coach resigning. Now, as the franchise attempts to move forward, team owner Mark Davis might be weighing legal options.

On Oct. 8, the Wall Street Journal reported Gruden used a racial trope when referring to NFL Players Association executive DeMaurice Smith. The then-Raiders coach apologized for the 2011 email, when he worked for ESPN, but refused to step down as head coach.

When Gruden wouldn’t resign his position and the Raiders refused to discipline him, more emails came out. On Oct. 11, the New York Times unveiled emails between Gruden ranging from 2011-’18 that frequently contained racist, sexist and homophobic language to various officials, including former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

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Shortly after the story broke, Gruden resigned and the Raiders accepted his decision. But it seems the franchise isn’t pleased with how things have transpired.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Davis reportedly is angry at the NFL and mulling legal options after what he reportedly believes was a hit job by league officials.

“He thinks the league office is out to get him. He thinks it’s a hit job.”

Anonymous NFL source on Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis, via CBS Sports

Davis believes, according to La Canfora, that influential figures in the NFL were determined to force Gruden out through media leaks. When the Raiders wouldn’t do it after the first email containing racist language came out, more documents were released.

It’s widely known that Davis admired Gruden years before he hired him. The Raiders largely ignored the NFL’s Rooney Rule in 2018 before hiring Gruden and Davis was reportedly emotional during Gruden’s in-person resignation.

While the NFL has denied any involvement in the Gruden emails going public, the league sent additional documents to the Raiders before the final bombshell story was released. When Davis stuck by Gruden following the Week 5 loss to the Chicago Bears, some believe a league official let the second wave of emails out.

An NFL owners meeting is scheduled to take place in New York later this month, with commissioner Roger Goodell in attendance. Needless to say, things could get ugly if Davis’s frustration carries over into a public confrontation and lawsuit.