Oct 15, 2021 - News

NFL email scandal embroils Washington Football Team

A black and white image: Washington football players run onto the field through a haze of fog.

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

An explosive investigation into the Washington Football Team's working conditions has uncovered career-ending emails, and sparked nationwide conversations about discrimination in the NFL and journalistic integrity, Paige writes.

Why it matters: While Jon Gruden has stepped down from his post with the Las Vegas Raiders, the investigation's fallout continues to rope-in recent Washington Football Team officials.

  • Lawyers representing the team offered a financial settlement to female former employees who alleged sexual assault, with the stipulation that the women stop speaking publicly about their experiences, a recent Washington Post report found. 

Zoom in: Former WFT president Bruce Allen was involved in some of Gruden's newly uncovered vulgar email correspondence, including messages that used homophobic slurs.  

The intrigue: The initial investigation had nothing to do with Gruden or the Raiders.

It started in 2020 after 15 female employees and two journalists who covered the WFT team shared their stories of sexual assault and verbal abuse with the Washington Post, which broke the story.

  • Yet, Gruden's emails were the only ones leaked, which has raised questions about what may be in the inboxes of other top league officials and coaches. 

In the midst of the chaos, the team announced Thursday that during Sunday's game it would retire the number 21 in honor of Sean Taylor, who was killed in 2007 during a robbery attempt at his Florida home.

What's next: Former Washington cheerleaders and employees are among those calling for the NFL to release more from the investigation, including more emails.

  • Some of those former employees are petitioning NFL corporate sponsors, including Amazon, Nike, and Pepsi, to join them in pressuring the league for increased transparency.

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