Emails Expose NFL Lawyer Jeff Pash's Relationship With WFT, Racial Jokes

Jon Gruden may soon have company in the unemployment line. Jeff Pash, general counsel for the NFL, is the latest prominent figure to be exposed by way of decade-old emails. The email leaks, which are part of an investigation into a "toxic" culture within the Washington Football Team's organization, show Pash joking with former WFT president Bruce Allen about diversity and rescinding league-sanctioned fines.

The New York Timesuncovered online exchanges between Pash and Allen from 2009 through 2018 that calls into question the relationship between the league lawyer and the team executive.

As the Timesreported, in 2013, Mike Shanahan, then Washington's coach, was fined $15,000 for doctoring an injury report, which is against league rules. Washington appealed the fine with the league, but was denied. This prompted Pash to email Allen. In the email, Pash called the fine "BS" and said that the team didn't need to pay back the $15,000 fine “or any other amount with respect to this matter and you should consider the fine to be rescinded in its entirety."

When a 2018 scandal came to light that involved Allen and others passing along topless photos of Washington cheerleaders through the organization -- an issue that former WFT cheerleaders are still fighting -- Pash emailed Allen, perThe Times, saying: “I know that you are on it and would not condone something untoward.”

Amid their email banter were a number of a racially insensitive jokes, including a derogatory exchange about the NFL's Rooney Rule, which aims to fill coaching and front office positions with minorities.

“Curious — is there a rule against hiring Libertarians, Independents or even a Republican?” Allen asked Pash.

"No, but it can sometimes look that way!” replied Pash.

Allen shot back: "We have the Rooney rule … So I’m going to propose a Lincoln Rule at the next meeting.”

Pressed for a response, the NFL executive vice president of communications, Jeff Miller, issued The Times a statement in support of Pash:

"Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis. Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character NFL executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false."

Unlike the fines issued to the WFT, neither Pash nor the league office can make this go away.


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Anthony is a former high school basketball intramural champion who played a leading role in creating two offspring. He spends his weekends hoping for an MTV Rock N' Jock revival. Follow him on X (@OhioAF).