The NFL is a cultural colossus. Could its mounting legal woes leave a mark?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at his invitation-only state of the league news conference on Monday.Photograph: Matt York/AP

A month before the NFL’s Las Vegas Super Bowl, a different sort of high-stakes football contest unfolded in the Supreme Court of Nevada. That’s where the league was called to defend itself in a lawsuit from Jon Gruden – the disgraced NFL coach who stepped down from the Raiders after being exposed for sending racist, sexist and homophobic emails for nearly a decade while in the employ of ESPN. The revelation cost Gruden more than half the balance of his $100m Raiders contract, the league’s highest coaching salary at the time, and it’s long been the coach’s contention that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conspired to make him a pariah in the sport.

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The Super Bowl is as much a celebration of the NFL as it is a stamp of its hold on the national zeitgeist and expanding influence abroad. (On Friday the league announced it will play its first ever regular-season game in Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.) But a flurry of recent lawsuits threaten to pierce the league’s aura of invincibility. Doubtless for some, the litigation is evidence of a successful enterprise (from Microsoft to Trump Inc), part and parcel of a larger money game. On top of that, the NFL product has proven effective in distracting fans from alleged transgressions. Before they realize what hit them, the league’s nuclear-grade legal team has either swept the matter under the rug or worn down the opposition. It’s a playbook that’s carried the league for more than 50 years. And yet one can’t help but wonder if this Goliath isn’t a stone’s throw away from buckling.

At his invitation-only state of the league news conference on Monday, Goodell took satisfaction in seeing four coaches of color hired this offseason, raising the overall total to nine – an NFL record….


Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl-cultural-colossus-could-mounting-150047190.html

Author : The Guardian

Publish date : 2024-02-10 15:00:47

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