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Nevada court orders Jon Gruden case to NFL arbitration

A three-judge panel of the Nevada Supreme Court sided with the NFL against former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden on Tuesday, saying he was subject to arbitration even as a former employee and therefore ineligible to sue the league for his 2021 dismissal.

Judges Elissa F. Cadish and Kristina Pickering vacated a district court’s order denying the NFL’s motion to force Gruden’s complaint into its arbitration process. The case was remanded to the lower court with an order granting the motion for arbitration.

Justice Linda Marie Bell disagreed with the majority’s interpretation of the arbitration clause in the NFL Constitution, siding with Gruden’s lawyers who argued it did not apply to former employees.

“I disagree with their conclusion because the facts of this case do not support the survival of the clause after Gruden’s employment ends,” Bell wrote in his dissent.

Gruden’s lawsuit accuses the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell of “directly leaking” racist and misogynistic emails in an attempt to damage Gruden’s reputation and force him out as Raiders coach in October 2021 .

Gruden filed his complaint in November 2021, weeks after he resigned under pressure when some of his emails from more than a decade earlier were published by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The emails surfaced as part of the league’s investigation into Daniel Snyder, then owner of the Washington Commanders.

Gruden told ESPN last year that the league “thought they could cherry-pick emails from years ago, when I wasn’t even a coach, and try to end my career.” At the time, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN that “neither the NFL nor the commissioner released Coach Gruden’s offensive emails.”

The NFL argued for the courts to reject Gruden’s claim, saying a clause in his contract with the Raiders required him to file his claim through league arbitration.

Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, argued that arbitration, a process controlled by the NFL and in which any findings would not be made public, would be unfair to his client because Gruden is no longer an employee of the league.

Gruden, Hosmer-Henner and an NFL spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

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