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NFL emails reportedly contain no other troubling language among current employees

Matt Johnson
NFL emails, Roger Goodell
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL emails scandal that led to Jon Gruden resigning as the leader of the Las Vegas Raiders has dominated the headlines this week with the league facing criticism from all directions. But as many call for the NFL to release the 650,000 plus emails, it seems the league believes that is unnecessary.

All of this started on Oct. 8 when the Wall Street Journal released a story disclosing that Gruden used a racial trope when referring to NFL Players Association executive DeMaurice Smith. Gruden apologized for the 2011 email, when he worked for ESPN, but refused to step down as head coach.

Everything changed on Oct. 11. The New York Times released more NFL emails, detailing Gruden’s use of racist, sexist and homophobic language to various officials, including former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

The emails were discovered as part of the investigation into Washington’s toxic culture for more than a decade. While the specific findings were never made public, team owner Daniel Snyder was fined $10 million and effectively suspending from operating the team.

With so many vague details surrounding the investigation and the 650,000-plus emails, the NFLPA and accusers who came forward detailing the toxic culture in Washington, have demanded the league release the finding and communications between personnel.

After refusing to publish the emails earlier this week, league officials now seem to be trying to squash the story even more.

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The Associated Press reports inquiries into the NFL emails conducted by the league determined no other current team or league employees contained racist, homophobic or misogynistic language similar to the words used by Gruden.

“The NFL did not identify any problems anywhere near what you saw with Jon Gruden,”

NFL source on league investigation into 650,000 emails, via Associated Press

The NFL also pushed back on a recent report about attorney Jeff Pash. The Times reported Thursday that Pash, part of the NFL’s general counsel, had a strong relationship with Allen about referees, prior issues with Washington and often assured Allen that his team would not face any problems from years of reports about harassment of the team’s cheerleaders.

But, according to the NFL, Pach’s communications belong in “a different category” compared to Gruden’s emails. In the league’s eyes, Pash’s emails are “appropriate” and didn’t find he was too “chummy” with Washington’s then-president.

It should come as no surprise that an internal investigation into the NFL emails found nothing damning. But considering Pro Football Talk reported this week that many in the league are nervous about what could be discovered, the explanation from the NFL won’t fly.

However, the NFL’s actions in recent years suggest more emails won’t be released voluntarily. A league that settled the Colin Kaepernick lawsuit to prevent communications between team owners from getting out, wants to do the same with the St. Louis lawsuit and won’t release the findings into the Washington Football Team culture, won’t willingly give up internal documents that would damage the NFL’s image.