Two things can be simultaneously true.
1. What Jon Gruden said in those decade-old emails was offensive, indefensible, and gross enough that it was not tenable for him to continue as the Las Vegas Raiders' head coach in 2021.
2. Gruden's ouster appears to be the end result of targeted leaks driven by a grudge by someone within the NFL's power structure, perhaps all the way to the top.
How else do ones one explain, amid a sweeping investigation into the Washington Football Team that swooped up 680,000 emails, the only person dropped into hot water was the head coach of the Raiders?
Biding his time in Las Vegas, Gruden picked up the phone when cold-called by HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel producer Maggie Burbank called. The show recently aired a segment on Raiders owner Mark Davis, and so Gruden talked to Burbank. We don't hear the actual conversation, we hear reporter Andrea Kremer recount the conversation on the Real Sports Podcast.
“Maggie Burbank, who produced the story that we just did on Mark Davis, she actually called Gruden and he picked up the phone, much to I think her surprise,” Kremer said. “And he’s still in Las Vegas... He says he’s letting the dust settle. He said, ‘People who know me know what I stand for for 58 years. I have a resume of 58 years.’ He said, ‘The truth will come out.’ It’s certainly cryptic.”
We're in a season of coaches suing their former employers. Jeremy Pruitt has threatened to sue Tennessee, Nick Rolovich is threatening the same at Washington State, and perhaps this club will add a third soon. Gruden was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, and so he could have 40 million reasons to come after the NFL.