NFL appeal in Gruden lawsuit gets hearing date

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Supreme Court plans to soon hear the NFL’s appeal of a ruling denying a request to move former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the league from a public courtroom into closed-door arbitration.

The lawsuit, filed in November 2021, accuses the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell of a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” to force Gruden to resign as the Raiders’ head coach by leaking racist, sexist and anti-gay emails that no one disputes Gruden sent.

The court posted a notice Wednesday scheduling oral arguments on Nov. 7 in Las Vegas.

Attorneys for Gruden, the NFL and Goodell and a league representative did not respond to email messages Thursday about the hearing.

The NFL wants the state high court to reverse a state court judge’s decisions in May 2022 not to dismiss Gruden’s lawsuit outright or order out-of-court talks that could be overseen by Goodell.

Gruden’s emails went to former Washington Commanders executive Bruce Allen from 2011 to 2018, when Gruden was an announcer at ESPN. They were found amid some 650,000 emails the league obtained during an investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington team.

Gruden alleges disclosure of the emails and their publication by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times destroyed his career and scuttled endorsement contracts. He is seeking monetary damages.

A key question before the Supreme Court will be a finding by Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Allf in response to Gruden’s allegation that the league intentionally leaked only his documents. The judge said that could show evidence of “specific intent,” or an act designed to cause a particular result.

Gruden was the Raiders head coach when the team moved in 2020 from Oakland to Las Vegas. He left the team with more than six seasons remaining on a record 10-year, $100 million contract. Raiders owner Mark Davis later said the team reached a settlement with Gruden over the final years of his contract. Terms were not disclosed.

Gruden previously coached in the NFL from 1990 to 2008, including head-coaching stints in Oakland and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with which he won the 2003 Super Bowl. He spent years as a TV analyst for ESPN before being hired by the Raiders again in 2018.

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