The NFL has done what most parties do when sued in civil court. The league has denied all charges.
“The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement issued to PFT on Friday.
The league has the right to defend itself vigorously, and to believe that the allegations have no merit. And to say so publicly. The reality, of course, is that the truth ultimately will come out in court, with a judge and jury presiding.
Unless it doesn’t. The NFL undoubtedly will try to argue that the entire controversy belongs in arbitration, based on any and all terms from Gruden’s contract or from league policies or wherever and however the league can take the matter from a public forum when a jury of regular people will make a decision and cram it into a private setting, with a lawyer or a retired judge making the decision.
The league surely will fight this aggressively, since the process of producing documents and making witnesses available for testimony will shed light on something the league prefers to keep secret — the investigation of the Washington Football Team. If preliminary efforts to force the case to arbitration fail, the best move could be not to vigorously defend but to generously settle.
In hindsight, that’s precisely what the league should have done after its vigorous effort to force the St. Louis relocation litigation into arbitration failed.