Will lawsuit against NFL, Roger Goodell keep Saints from hiring Jon Gruden?

Brian Flores isn’t the only former NFL head coach with a pending lawsuit against the league. Jon Gruden has one, too.

With steam building that Gruden could join the Saints, perhaps as offensive coordinator, the question becomes whether the league would try to keep that from happening.

It would be wrong, to say the least, for the NFL to squeeze the Saints. It would create grounds for a separate legal action. Employers generally cannot hold against a current or former employee a decision by that employee to pursue legal rights against the employer,

We reported after the Saints brought Gruden in as a consultant that the Saints received no blowback from the league. That doesn’t mean the league will stay silent now that the Saints might be considering hiring Gruden on a full-time basis.

While the Flores race discrimination lawsuit hasn’t kept him from being a defensive coordinator (he has still gotten no interest in the current hiring cycle), Gruden’s lawsuit seems more pointed and personal. He’s accusing Commissioner Roger Goodell of trying to take Gruden out by selectively leaking otherwise secret emails from the Washington investigation to multiple media outlets.

Yes, Gruden got what he deserved, in the abstract. However, that doesn’t make it right for someone to selectively weaponize a handful of emails from a collection of 650,000 documents that surely reflect poorly on many more people than Gruden.

Gruden’s case, like the Flores lawsuit, remains stuck at square one. Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court took up the question of whether Gruden’s case would stay in open court, or whether it would be sent to arbitration.

The Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court had a pointed question for the NFL’s lawyers during oral arguments in the case: “To have a dispute with somebody who is the one deciding the dispute — seems like there might be a problem.”

Yes, there is a problem. A huge problem. A problem that has been hiding in plain sight for years as the NFL continues to engineer a secret, rigged, kangaroo court in which the Commissioner or his designee decide disputes involving the Commissioner, the league, and/or its teams.

It would be great if we could all serve as, or directly appoint, the judges in our own legal disputes. It’s a lot easier to win such fights. Which is why the NFL always does it.

We’ll see if the NFL manages to pull it off again. If so, we’ll likely never hear anything more about it. If not, the whole thing will play out in court. Eventually, we’ll find out who ordered the proverbial Code Red on the Gruden.

For now, the question is whether he’ll be working for the Saints or another NFL team if/when that happens.

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