The decision of the NFL to keep the outcome of the Washington Football Team investigation secret benefited many people whose behavior deserves to be exposed. It perhaps has benefited none more than former WFT president Bruce Allen.
When the league first made it clear that nothing would be disclosed, owner Daniel Snyder got the brunt of the criticism and speculation regarding the things that would have become known if the league had applied full transparency. Allen, the true day-to-day presence in the building, was largely ignored.
Then, when the Jon Gruden emails emerged 10 days ago, Gruden got 99 percent (maybe more) of the attention and criticism. Allen again was largely ignored.
The Jeff Pash emails resulted in plenty of criticism for him and, once more, not much focus on Allen.
Maybe it’s because he’s gone from any NFL team. Maybe it’s because he has little or no chance of getting hired again by an NFL team. Regardless, he has not received the kind of scrutiny that he should.
On Sunday, Allen finally found himself in the center of the bull’s-eye. Former Raiders president Amy Trask, whose long tenure with the team overlapped with Allen during eight years in Oakland (1995 to 2003), made it clear that she complained about Allen’s behavior. More than once.
Her remarks on That Other Pregame Show on CBS Sports started with a focus on Gruden, with comments that didn’t contain direct evidence of misconduct but implied plenty about Gruden’s attitude toward the first female CEO in league history.
“I didn’t interact with Jon a lot, but that was by Jon’s choice,” Trask said. “Jon made very clear throughout the organization he did not want to interact with me. Had I heard him say anything of that nature, I would have spoken up. Because silence is complicity.”
To prove that she would have spoken out about Gruden, Trask explained that she spoke out about Allen.
“I did hear comments of that nature from the individual to whom Jon sent those emails,” Trask said, referring to Allen. “And I did speak up. I spoke up repeatedly, I spoke up forcefully. I talked to the owner about it. Because to be silent would have been to be complicit.”
It’s unclear when she complained, what she said, and whether any complaints were made to the league office. It’s also unclear whether the complaints resulted in investigations, findings, and/or discipline of Allen. He stayed with the Raiders for two years beyond Gruden’s departure for the Buccaneers. In 2004, Allen joined Gruden in Tampa Bay, holding the position of General Manager until he and Gruden were fired after the 2008 season.
Allen landed in Washington in 2010 as the General Manager, failing upward to the position of CEO. He spent a decade there, apparently doing plenty of damage to the franchise along the way, both of a football and non-football nature.
Fortunately for Washington, the other 31 teams, and the league, he’s gone and most likely not coming back. Fortunately for Allen, he has not been publicly criticized the way he should be.
Maybe he still will be.