Problematic Jon Gruden emails may be 'more common' than thought, congressman says

ASHBURN (Va.) -- A letter was sent to the NFL by one of the House Democrats asking for more information on its investigation into Washington Football Team's workplace culture. He fears that Jon Gruden's emails could be the "tip of an iceberg."
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), told ESPN that the representatives wanted the opportunity to participate because the NFL "holds an important place in American life."

Krishnamoorthi stated that the NFL's handling of issues such as race and gender, and how they treat their employees has a significant impact on society's approach to these issues. We are very interested in finding out more about why and how the NFL did it.

Gruden, the Las Vegas Raiders' coach, resigned earlier this month after emails he had written over a long period of time contained racist and misogynistic language. These emails were found as part of an investigation into Washington's workplace culture.

Krishnamoorthi stated that the biggest concern is that Jon Gruden's behavior is more common than we thought. "That's the main concern of many people."

Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), asked the NFL to turn over many documents and answer many questions regarding the investigation by November 4.

Krishnamoorthi stated that they have not received any communication from the NFL other than acknowledging receipt of the five-page letter. Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesperson, said Thursday night in an email that the league had received Maloney's letter. He shared Maloney’s concern that "all workplaces should be free of any form discrimination and harassment." We look forward speaking with her office soon."

Congress can issue a subpoena if the NFL refuses to cooperate. Krishnamoorthi was asked if they would consider sueing the league. "If the NFL refused to cooperate after trying to work with them in order to enlist our cooperation, then we have the tools to compel their production of documents." We hope it doesn't. We should be able to work together to obtain this information."

Maloney and Krishnamoorthi stated in a letter that they would like the NFL to provide "all documents, communications, and other matters relating to the investigation into the WFT and its management, its owners and any other matter related to or resulting form the WFT investigation." The letter also requests that the NFL detail its involvement in the investigation of attorney Beth Wilkinson into the franchise, and explain why no written report was produced after 150 interviews.

Krishnamoorthi stated that she didn't know of any investigation in which someone was not allowed to record what happened or the findings. But, this appears to have been what happened here. She reviewed a lot of evidence that other people reviewed, but it is not all there.

From 2003 to 2007, Tom Davis was chairman of the House Oversight Committee. He also served as the ranking minority member during Congress' 2008 investigation into the baseball steroid problem. He stated that it was possible to bring the issue to a hearing due to bipartisan support from the House and the fact that the target was not just one player or team, but was also because there was broad support.

Davis stated that members will be interested in knowing why Congress is involved and, if they are, why are they focusing on one team. This isn't a problem that only the Washington Football Team faces. It's not just for football. It's everywhere on college campuses and locker rooms.

"To reach the House floor, you must be larger than the Washington Football Team."

In their letter, the representatives also expressed concerns about former employees signing nondisclosure agreements and requested more information on Jeff Pash, the NFL's general counsel.

"Our greatest fear is that Jon Gruden's behavior is more common than we thought. This is what many people are worried about. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.

In leaked emails, Pash revealed his close relationship to Bruce Allen, former Washington team president. The emails included topics that covered everything from jokes about the league's diversity initiatives to the rescinding of an NFL fine. Allen was fired after the 2019 season.

Krishnamoorthi stated that Congress members do not believe former Washington employees who cooperated in the investigation have received any reply.

Krishnamoorthi stated that the NFL and Washington Football Team enjoy special privileges in accordance with our antitrust laws. "We felt it important to investigate the NFL's handling of the Washington Football Team and their employees. We're deeply disturbed by what we have seen thus far."

Krishnamoorthi stated that representatives are looking into the situation and will investigate whether any new laws or strengthened ones are necessary to assist employees working in similar environments. He also stated that they want to ensure that the NFL does not conceal information through nondisclosure agreements between former Washington employees.

Gruden's emails, which he sent while he was working as an analyst on Monday Night Football for ESPN, were transferred to Allen's account. This is why they were discovered as part of the NFL investigation. They were also included in the court filings of Dan Snyder, Washington's owner, in which he tried to prove that Allen was a source for leaking negative information regarding his team.

Krishnamoorthi stated that the representatives were not requested to write a letter to NFL officials. He stated that they had been watching the situation and that Gruden's resignation highlighted the "disturbing nature of communications occurring by high-level officials." It seemed appropriate to intervene now and get to the bottom.