The Washington Football Team is back at the center of controversy following Jon Gruden’s unceremonious resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Gruden resigned hours after the New York Times exposed messages of the racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ variety that were sent from his email to former Washington president Bruce Allen and others from 2010 to 2018.
Per the report, the emails were a part of the NFL’s independent investigation into the franchise’s workplace culture.
The investigation was launched last summer after a slew of articles from the Washington Post unearthed the disturbing encounters of over 40 women who claimed to be victims of sexual misconduct by influential Washington employees.
The probe spanned 10 months and resulted in Washington getting hit with a $10 million fine. Tanya Snyder was appointed as co-CEO while owner Dan Snyder took a brief leave of absence.
That punishment amounted to a slap on the wrists, and, as a result, the lawyers of 40 former Washington employees, as well as the NFLPA, have petitioned the NFL to release the full findings of the investigation.
After all, how could Gruden, who wasn’t even a target of the probe, be taken down (deservedly so) while the full details remain locked away?
If you can believe it, this narrative took another dark turn when former Washington head coach Jay Gruden revealed this week during an interview that he was never questioned during the investigation.
Former Washington head coach Jay Gruden revealed he was never questioned during the NFL’s investigation into the franchise’s toxic work culture.
"“No, I haven’t been questioned,” Gruden told the Team 980. “I don’t even know what the heck is really going on. Once I was let go out of there, I was let go and I kind of just backed away.”“I don’t know what they’re looking for, to be honest with you. I was just a football coach. I thought our staff worked extremely hard. I thought our players worked extremely hard. We did the best we could to win football games.”“What went on, as far as other issues are concerned, I wasn’t privy to a lot of that information. That was between Dan (Snyder) and Bruce (Allen) and whoever else was privy to that. That’s probably why I wasn’t called up or questioned. I had nothing to do with any of that stuff. I was trying to get the players out there to play, get the healthy players out there to play and compete.”"
Interesting. DC lawyer Beth Wilkerson, who ran point on the investigation, interviewed more than 150 people during the months-long probe, but she didn’t think to interview Gruden, who coached Washington for five full seasons from 2014 to 2018 before he was fired five games into the 2019 season?
Gruden was in the same building as Snyder and Allen for half a decade. Though Gruden claims to have “stayed in his lane” with regard to coaching and says his relationship with Allen was based purely around football, surely he could’ve at least been approached by Wilkerson once during her nearly year-long investigation, no?
Again, make of it what you will, but Gruden’s interview adds another twist to a saga that has become more duplicitous than we ever could’ve imagined.