In high-profile legal cases, it’s sometimes not just about who wins and loses.

It’s also about whose private business gets dragged into public along the way.

Such is the undercurrent of the lawsuit that former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden filed last week against the NFL, alleging that the league and commissioner Roger Goodell deliberately leaked Gruden’s vulgar emails to the news media in an effort to force him out of his job. The lawsuit, which was filed in a Nevada state court, described it as “a Soviet-style character assassination.”

Gruden contends the NFL both interfered with his Raiders contract and disrupted his ability to make money through endorsements. He also claims the league was negligent. (NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy called these allegations “entirely meritless.”)

Yet the practical impact of Gruden’s lawsuit goes beyond the merit of its claims.

“Litigation always opens up the opportunity for discovery,” American University law professor N. Jeremi Duru said. “And discovery opens up the possibility of embarrassment – or indications of impropriety among the party whose documents and information is being discovered.”

For the NFL, which tends to fiercely guard private information and try to control every narrative, the Gruden lawsuit represents yet another forum in …read more



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