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Sports: Report: NFL lawyer discussed sensitive subjects in emails with fired WFT executive

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The National Football League's top lawyer had a chummy relationship with the president and GM of the Washington Football Team -- casually discussing hot-button topics from racial and ethnic diversity to player safety, and even helping eliminate a fine the NFL levied on the team -- emails obtained by the New York Times reveal.

In a 2011 photo, NFL football lead counsel Jeff Pash, right, accompanied by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaks with reporters. © Haraz N. Ghanbari, AP In a 2011 photo, NFL football lead counsel Jeff Pash, right, accompanied by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaks with reporters.

Jeff Pash, who serves as the league's general counsel and is one of Commissioner Roger Goodell's most trusted advisers, frequently communicated with Bruce Allen, a top executive for the team from 2009 until he was fired in 2019, according to the Times.

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In one instance, Allen contacted Pash in 2013 after the NFL had fined Washington $15,000 for manipulating its injury report, calling the decision, "B.S." Pash later overruled his staff's recommendation and told Allen the team didn't have to pay the $15,000 “or any other amount with respect to this matter and you should consider the fine to be rescinded in its entirety.”

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The two also discussed other sensitive topics, such as the scandal involving allegations of sexual harassment by Washington executives of the team's cheerleaders.

“I know that you are on it and would not condone something untoward,” Pash told Allen.

Neither Pash nor Allen responded to the Times' request for comment. However the NFL did offer a statement praising Pash's character.

Now question in NFL is: Does Gruden reflect broader culture?

  Now question in NFL is: Does Gruden reflect broader culture? When Shad Khan set out more than a decade ago to become the first member of an ethnic minority to own an NFL team, the Pakistani-American heard the scuttlebutt. “The conjecture was, ‘You will never get approved, because you’re not white,’” Khan, now the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview this week. His attempt to purchase a 60% stake in one club fell through, so “the narrative that people had been giving to me kind of got reinforced,” Khan said. Undaunted — and, he says, encouraged by Commissioner Roger Goodell — Khan moved on and soon reached an agreement to buy the Jaguars. “Got approved unanimously,” Khan noted.

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“Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis,” Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement Thursday. "Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false.”

Allegations of widespread sexual harassment within the Washington Football Team organization spurred an investigation last year, however the team and the NFL did not make the findings public.

Some of the emails from Allen to former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden that were part of the investigation were uncovered last week -- leading to Gruden's resignation on Monday.

A group of nearly 40 female former employees have requested a meeting with Goodell and called for the NFL to release additional details about the probe's findings.

NFL draft 2022: Matt Corral, Aidan Hutchinson among 10 prospects on the rise so far this season

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Report: NFL lawyer discussed sensitive subjects in emails with fired WFT executive

Opinion: NFL owners get a bargain by paying Commissioner Roger Goodell $128 million .
Goodell's compensation over past two years reported to come mostly for bonuses related to new media contracts and collective bargaining agreement.With 32 teams in the league, that works out to about $4 million each. Spread it out over two seasons, and every team is on the hook for $2 million a year for Goodell’s services. Heck, the throw pillows on Jerry Jones’ yacht probably put a bigger dent in his pocketbook.

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