The Jon Gruden/WFT situation raises plenty of questions that, frankly, require a lawyer for the asking and a lawyer for the answering. I’ve got a long list of questions relating to the decisions made and actions taken (or not taken) by the league regarding the investigation of the Washington Football Team and, three months later, the utilization of some of the documents harvested during the investigation to take down Jon Gruden, who never worked for the Washington Football Team (and, based on the emails leaked, was working for no NFL team at the time they were sent).
As a result, I thought it would make sense to ask to interview NFL general counsel Jeff Pash. During the lockout (which has come up a couple of times in relation to former Washington executive Bruce Allen’s emails), Pash appeared multiple times on PFT Live, eager to help fans and media understand the league’s bargaining position as to the NFL Players Association. In this setting, it would be helpful to fans and media who have questions about what happened and why it happened to hear from someone like Pash.
So I asked the league to make Pash available.
“We appreciate the request but we will decline,” a league spokesperson told me on Thursday afternoon. I doubt the veracity of the first four words; given the events of the past few days, the league surely doesn’t appreciate any effort to jostle it toward transparency and accountability for the failure to publish any information about the WFT investigation, until the moment someone (we still don’t know who) decided that a sliver of 650,000 secret emails would be used to topple a Super Bowl-winning coach.
Not that he didn’t deserve it. It’s possible to believe both that Gruden should not be coaching and that Gruden was treated unfairly. Why was he the only person to be embarrassed, exposed, and eventually unemployed when the trove of documents quite possibly contains many other items that would result in many other people getting what they deserve, too?