One member of Congress who sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking for “all documents and communications” regarding its investigation into the Washington Football Team and Jon Gruden spoke out on Friday, and said he believes the scandals already brought to light are just the beginning.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) joined Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-New York) on Thursday in asking Goodell to turn over the documents. Krishnamoorthi told ESPN on Friday that he believes Gruden’s emails are the “tip of the iceberg.”
"The way they handle issues of race and gender and the way they treat their employees really influences the way society handles those very issues," Krishnamoorthi said, via ESPN. "We're very much interested in learning more about exactly why the NFL did what they did and the way they did it."
‘The biggest fear’ is that this is more common than we thought
Gruden resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this month after The New York Times revealed racist, misogynistic and anti-gay opinions he shared in multiple emails with former Washington Football Team general manager Bruce Allen while Gruden was working at ESPN. He has been relatively quiet since he resigned, but he reportedly told an HBO “Real Sports Podcast” producer this week that “the truth will come out.”
The emails that were leaked to The Times are part of 650,000 emails in the independent investigation into harassment claims against the Washington Football Team. Over 40 women have accused team owner Dan Snyder and other executives of sexual misconduct.
The Times also reported that emails between Allen and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, which revealed a shocking and concerning relationship between the two. The NFL has since said that no additional league personnel are implicated in the remaining emails, but has not released any.
Krishnamoorthi and Maloney, in a letter to Goodell, outlined the specific allegations made against the Washington Football Team and how the league has responded.
"We have serious concerns about what appears to be widespread abusive workplace conduct at the WFT and about the NFL's handling of this matter,” the two wrote, in part. “Communications between league management and WFT leadership also raise questions about the league's asserted impartiality in these investigations. In addition, we are deeply troubled by the reported use of non-disclosure agreements to potentially conceal inappropriate behavior, including conduct that is prohibited by federal laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act."
Krishnamoorthi said they have not heard back from the NFL yet, other than to say that their letter had been received. Among their concerns is that Gruden’s behavior isn’t just an isolated incident.
"The biggest fear is that what Jon Gruden appears to engage in is much more common than what we otherwise thought," Krishnamoorthi said, via ESPN. "That's what a lot of people are concerned about."
Another big concern of theirs, Krishnamoorthi said, is that there wasn’t an official written report after attorney Beth Wilkinson’s independent investigation into the Washington Football Team’s conduct — which resulted in the league fining the team $10 million.
That isn’t sitting right with him.
"I just don't know of an investigation where someone is not allowed to document what happened or to document the findings, but that appears to be what happened here,” Krishnamoorthi said, via ESPN. “There's a large body of evidence she reviewed that others reviewed that is also somehow not surfacing in any way."
If the NFL does not turn over the requested documents, Krishnamoorthi said that they “do have the tools to compel” the league to comply.
“Our hope is it doesn’t get there,” he said, via ESPN. “I hope we can work with them to get this information.”