When Jon Gruden resigned in disgrace this week after emails showed him regularly using racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language with former Washington executive Bruce Allen, many were quick to point out that if the NFL has 650,000 emails from the investigation into the Football Team, those from Gruden surely weren’t the only ones to show unacceptable behavior.
The NFLPA has called for the league to release all of the emails, which seems highly unlikely, but someone with access to them at least seems happy providing a steady drip of leaks that highlight the ol’ boys club that is the NFL. The latest leak takes aim at Jeff Pash, the NFL’s top lawyer and a key advisor to Roger Goodell, with a number of emails between he and Allen that show a close bond of friendship between the two despite Pash being in charge of investigations into the Football Team and levying fines for the league.
Included in the latest emails unveiled by the New York Times are instances of Pash outright rescinding fines for the Football Team after Allen’s complaints, sharing laughs about Allen trying to lower a player’s salary which Pash calls “the Lord’s work,” and, once again, an odd affection for Hooters. At one point, when discussing a fine for violating spending rules, Pash brought up how Allen got him a Hooters VIP card, which he treasures dearly.
A year later, when the league penalized Washington and Dallas for violating league spending limits, Allen asked to speak with Pash. “Still talking internally about this,” Pash replied. “I am not making any promises as to an outcome. But I can assure you that I am not blowing you off.”
After Allen thanked him, Pash added: “We may not see this the same way. But that does not change my respect or affection for you. After all, nobody else has ever given me a Hooters VIP card.”
There was also lots of correspondence about the Football Team’s former name, which Pash helped Allen and the organization defend, as well as off-color jokes about building the wall amid a push for more Latino fans.
Pash and Allen, as his team spun in and out of crises, joked about the league’s diversity initiatives.
When Allen shared an audio file of a team song aimed at attracting Latino fans, Pash responded, “I am not sure this song will be as popular after the wall gets built.”
There is a lot in the full report from the Times and all of it paints a picture of a relationship between Pash and Allen that was far more than just cordial work acquaintances. Considering Pash headed up the league’s investigation into allegations of sexual harassment towards the team’s cheerleaders, among other matters, it presents plenty of questions about whether their friendship was appropriate. What’s also clear is that we are far from done with the emails discovered in this probe and it seems mostly a matter of who will be the next person to find themselves at the center of controversy for inappropriate emails with Allen.