Jeff Pash, the longtime general counsel of the NFL and advisor to commissioner Roger Goodell, is the latest under scrutiny following the 650,000 emails the league investigated that resulted in ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden's resignation.
The lawyer was a participant in email threads with former Washington Football Team president, Bruce Allen, whose correspondence was under investigation. The New York Times reported that the pair had a close relationship that spanned over almost a decade, even though Pash would eventually be responsible for investigating the franchise.
"Their emails suggest that, when the Washington franchise was in crisis, Pash tended to offer a sympathetic shoulder rather than acting as an impartial arbiter," The Times wrote.
The emails exchanged reportedly ranged from discussing the cheerleading scandal, arranged perks and brokered penalties to casual jokes about Native Americans, lowering player salaries and racial and political diversity.
Emails between the two reportedly stretched from 2009 to '18, and there were times when Pash would rescind penalties when Allen reached out, like when he overruled his staff's decision to issue the $15,000 fine for a WFT coach manipulating injury reports. When allegations of the WFT cheerleaders being sexually harassed surfaced, Pash told Allen, “I know that you are on it and would not condone something untoward.”
The Washington Post report about the cheerleaders came just a few months after the paper published a piece on 15 former female employees of the team describing their experiences with sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the organization.
Dan Snyder, co-owner of the WFT, hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson to conduct an investigation, which the league eventually took over with Wilkinson reporting to Pash. The report and findings were never made public, but the team did receive a $10 million fine.
Pash and Allen frequently joked about diversity initiatives in the league and politics, such as the Rooney rule or when Jocelyn Moore, a Black woman who worked with several Democratic senators, was hired as the NFL's chief lobbyist. The pair made comments about Latino fans, and Pash assisted Allen in defending the team's former name, which was viewed as a slur of Native Americans.
The two exchanged personal messages over the holidays and even discussed lowering players' salaries, which Pash reportedly penned as “The Lord’s work.”
This comes after the Times uncovered misogynistic, racist and anti-LGBTQ emails sent by Gruden from 2010 to '18, which were also collected and reviewed by the NFL while it investigated the Washington Football Team. The ex-coach reportedly sent the emails to the then-team president—Allen.