Technically, banging a gavel is just another way of knocking on wood if you’re with me.
Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden has scored a major preliminary victory in his lawsuit against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Via Katelyn Newberg of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, District Judge Nancy Allf denied the NFL’s motion to dismiss the case and, more importantly, the NFL’s motion to compel arbitration.
It means (if it sticks) that Gruden’s case will proceed in open court, and not in the NFL’s secret rigged kangaroo court.
It’s a win for the fans and media as well, since it means that a much greater degree of transparency will apply to the fight. It means that, barring a quick and quiet settlement, we’ll find out who leaked the emails that forced Gruden out, and much more.
“We are going to let the process take care of itself,” Gruden said outside the courtroom, via A.J. Perez of FrontOfficeSports.com. “Good luck to the Raiders. Go Raiders. I don’t have anything [else] to comment on. This process will take care of itself. It’s good to be back in Vegas. I am going to see friends tonight.”
The NFL has tried to make the case about the content of the emails, which obviously were inappropriate. Gruden’s lawyers have made the case about the alleged efforts of the NFL to force Gruden out by giving the emails to the media.
Making the ruling more potent is the fact that Judge Allf ruled from the bench. That doesn’t happen often. It happens when the proper ruling is so clear from the written submissions and the applicable precedent that there’s nothing that could be said or done in open court to change the outcome. It’s the closest thing that a judge can do to spiking the football in the face of the party that loses the issue.
Via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the league will appeal the ruling. Of course it will. It will fight and scratch and claw to try to keep this case out of public, open court.
The NFL, for example, took its effort to force the St. Louis relocation litigation to arbitration all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Look for the league to do the same thing here.
The NFL hates to lose in court. It’s best chance to avoid losing in court is to push the fight to its own internal processes, where the outcome is secure and the facts remain hidden.