In the NFL’s escalating email scandal, which so far has exposed now-former Raiders coach Jon Gruden for racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments and may take down other league figures, everything keeps coming back to one man: Bruce Allen.
Many of Gruden’s emails, in which he used anti-gay slurs and shared topless photos of cheerleaders without consent, were sent to Allen.
ESPN insider Adam Schefter sent an unpublished story to Allen, calling him “Mr. Editor” and asking for feedback.
Now, Jeff Pash – the NFL’s general counsel and a top confidant of Roger Goodell – has been revealed to have a close relationship with Allen, also exchanging inappropriate jokes via email.
The investigation began with the Washington Football Team, where Allen served as general manager from 2009 to 2019, adding the title of team president in 2015. The team was in the middle of a rampant workplace misconduct scandal, which resulted in team owner Dan Snyder relinquishing day-to-day operations of the team and a number of dismissals.
Allen got his first NFL GM gig with Tampa Bay in 2004, where Gruden was the head coach (the two had also previously worked together in Oakland). Allen remained GM until 2008, when both he and Gruden were fired. The Buccaneers won the NFC South in both 2005 and 2007, but lost in the first round of the playoffs in both seasons.
After being fired by the Buccaneers, Allen went to Washington, the franchise his father George Allen led to a Super Bowl as head coach in 1972. The younger Allen’s tenure was wildly unpopular among Washington fans. Per a Washington Post article, fans celebrated when he was let go in 2019. ESPN personality Matthew Berry rejoiced on Twitter, remarking that a popular #FireBruceAllen hashtag had finally worked.
Under Allen’s leadership in Washington, the team made the playoffs twice (in 2012 and 2015), and lost in the first round both times. The team badly mismanaged second overall pick Robert Griffin III’s leg injury in 2013, and his play was never the same after a strong rookie season.
It’s unclear what Allen has been up to since his 2019 firing. The Washington Post reported that Allen likely won’t be investigated for his role in the emails. However, a source told the paper it would be “highly unlikely” that Allen would be permitted to work in the league again.
Given his connection to Gruden – combined with his unpopular tenure in Washington – is is unlikely there would be much interest in the first place.
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