Many have said in the aftermath of Jon Gruden’s resignation that folks around the NFL are scrubbing their emails today. For some around the league, no amount of scrubbing will make a difference.
For those people, the damage is already done. For those people, the emails they sent to or received from former Washington executive Bruce Allen have become part of the 650,000 trove of documents that have been, but for a handful of Gruden emails, buried under a hundred yards of reinforced concrete.
The people who know Bruce Allen and who communicated with him during his time in Washington are nervous about what’s in there. About who else sent or received emails with racist, homophobic, transphobic, and/or misogynistic content. About whether they will be exposed, the same way Gruden was.
The right and fair outcome continues to be simple — release all of the Allen emails. Hell, release all 650,000 emails for full scrutiny. Selectively leaking (and the NFL definitely leaked selectively) the Gruden emails and then treating the rest of the emails like radioactive waste isn’t nearly good enough. Especially since, without current transparency, the NFL can simply dip into the cache of documents whenever it may choose in order to take action against someone who, for whatever reason, has landed on the NFL’s list of enemies or targets.
Look at what they did to Gruden. Leak one document, send “other materials” to the Raiders, and wait. Knowing what else was out there, Gruden foolishly (or stubbornly) didn’t quit. Knowing what else was out there, owner Mark Davis foolishly (or stubbornly) didn’t fire Gruden. So then the league leaked other documents, with the clear impression being that, if Gruden isn’t gone, still others will be leaked.
Others can find themselves in a similar predicament. Others may be approached about emails that haven’t yet been leaked, but with a request/suggestion that they quietly resign or retire or whatever now, or the emails will surface.
These emails become a powerful weapon, made even more powerful if they land in the wrong hands. The selective leaking of the emails proves that they’re already in the wrong hands. The only right thing to do, then, is to shine the light now. That brings out the truth, and it prevents the league from using the threat of disclosing the truth to manipulate others into doing whatever the league may want.
I know that’s a strong allegation. But, based on Gruden’s resignation and the circumstances surrounding it, it’s fair to conclude that the league already has done it once. If the emails aren’t released, nothing stops the league from doing it again.