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NFL powers that be now involved in Washington Football Team scandal

Vincent Frank

The entire Jon Gruden email scandal that resulted in his resignation as the Las Vegas Raiders head coach earlier in the week threw the NFL world for a loop.

Said scandal included the now-infamous Gruden displaying homophobic, racist and misogynistic tendencies in emails to then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

Gruden and Allen enjoyed a relationship dating back to their days together with the then-Oakland Raiders. This scandal follows over a calendar year of reports regarding sexual harassment on the part of the Washington Football Team brass, directed at former employees.

That’s why it was so interesting that the leaks surrounding north of 600,000 pieces of email correspondence involving Washington only included Gruden-related topics.

Now comes this piece of potentially damning information for the NFL provided by Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman of The NY Times. According to the pair of writers, NFL General Council Jeff Pash shared a strong relationship with Allen while the now-disgraced former executive was head of the Washington Football front office.

“For nearly a decade, the president of the Washington Football Team sent emails to a friend in which he casually joked about Native Americans and racial and political diversity, griped about referees and league initiatives to improve player safety, and arranged tickets and perks for his correspondent,” The Times noted. “He also thanked the man for getting a fine lifted and for understanding the team’s thorniest troubles.”

Said friend was none other than the aforementioned Pash, who has served as one of the top advisers to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell since 2006. That’s in no way the extent of the NFL’s involvement in this ever-growing scandal.

Related: NFL must answer questions following Jon Gruden email scandal

NFL now directly involved in Washington Football Team scandal

nfl general council jeff pash
Mar 11, 2011; Washington, DC, USA; NFL lead labor negotiator Jeff Pash talks with the media after negotiations with the NFL players association involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“Pash appeared to engage willingly in the back-and-forth, sometimes reassuring the Washington executive, Bruce Allen, who was with the club from 2009 to 2019, not to worry about troubles that would eventually rock the team and the league, including reports about harassment of the club’s cheerleaders,” The Times reported.

This is shocking. It is damning. It is eye-opening. Apparently, Pash’s chummy relationship with Allen tells us a story of a man who was tasked with overseeing organizations and team executives giving preferential treatment. At one point, The Times reports, Pash reversed a $15,000 fine that Washington had received for violating NFL policy regarding its injury report.

As for the NFL, it did respond to a request for a statement prior to this damning report being released.

“Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis,” Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement Thursday. “Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character N.F.L. executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false.”

Not only does this come following the Gruden scandal, it breaks one day after another explosive report indicated that the Washington Football Team attempted to pay hush money to former employees as a way to cover up its sexual harassment scandal.

Remember, Washington was fined back in July a mere amount of $10 million (by NFL standards) with owner Daniel Snyder escaping any punishment as the head of the franchise.

Stay tuned. There’s going to be a lot more break on this story in the coming days and weeks. For now, it’s an absolutely horrible look for the National Football League.