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Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden sues NFL and commissioner

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Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts to the crowd during warmups before a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Allegiant Stadium on August 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who resigned last month after revelations that he had made racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments in emails, is suing the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Through a malicious and orchestrated campaign, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” said the lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County District Court in Nevada.

The lawsuit also alleges that the league and Goodell “selectively leaked Gruden’s private correspondence” to the Wall Street and New York Times to “force” him out of his job.

“There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season,” said Adam Hosmer-Henner, Gruden’s attorney, in a statement Friday.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy on Friday called Gruden’s allegations “entirely meritless” and said it “will vigorously defend against these claims.”

Gruden’s move to take legal action comes after reports that his emails included a past racist remark about NFL players’ union head DeMaurice Smith, as well as sexist and homophobic language. The messages were sent was an ESPN analyst, before he became coach of the Raiders.

Gruden has since apologized for his past remarks that surfaced.

“I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” he said upon his Oct. 11 resignation. “Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this report.

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