ESPN: How the Gruden email leaks led to Dan Snyder's downfall

Smiling Joe Hesketh

Throw Momma From the Train
Moderator
SoSH Member
May 20, 2003
36,192
Deep inside Muppet Labs
How Dan Snyder was hoist by his own petard

This article is bananapants insane. Seriously, it's a must read

- there's the suggestion that it was the NFL itself who uncovered/leaked the emails because the league itself wanted Smith to continue as president of the NFLPA.

- Al Davis influenced Gruden to hate the league office. One day after a helmet to helmet flag Gruden criticized, Goodell wanted to fly him to New York to teach him about player safety. He refused. Gruden later wanted to promote youth football and expected to meet with Goodell, but Goodell sent a deputy which pissed off Gruden.

- Robert Kraft was the owner who enlisted Jay-Z and his company to work with the NFL on social issues.

- Desiree Perez, the CEO of Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s company) may have leaked some of the Gruden emails at the behest of Snyder.

"When Snyder's lawyers -- famed defense attorney Joe Tacopina, assisted by Reed Smith partners Siev and James McCarroll -- began to show a series of slides, those in the room were stunned, according to sources. What was presented was not a defense against any of Wilkinson's findings made against Snyder; it was a series of screenshots of potentially embarrassing emails and texts from several top league executives, including Goodell's top lieutenant, Pash. The rationale, according to a source with firsthand knowledge, was to argue the hypocrisy of league officials judging Snyder. The tactics were so ruthless that some attorneys felt uncomfortable. Although none of the content was sexist, anti-gay or graphic, the signal was clear: If Goodell didn't do what Snyder wanted in terms of handling the Wilkinson report and punishment, these emails and texts would be leaked.

It became known in league circles as the "Blackmail PowerPoint."
There's so much crazy in this piece. Just read it. It's that good.
 
Last edited:

Archer1979

shazowies
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
8,114
Right Here
Read it as well and agreed on all points.

What you quoted jumped out at me when I read it.

Given the people involved (Gooden, Gruden, Snyder), it seems like a circular firing squad in which the sole regret is that they didn't have enough bullets.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

Throw Momma From the Train
Moderator
SoSH Member
May 20, 2003
36,192
Deep inside Muppet Labs
Read it as well and agreed on all points.

What you quoted jumped out at me when I read it.

Given the people involved (Gooden, Gruden, Snyder), it seems like a circular firing squad in which the sole regret is that they didn't have enough bullets.
I'd be all for such an immolation. Add to that group Pash, who was one of the biggest pushers of Deflategate. He gets hammered in this piece as well.

It cracks me up that Mark Davis and Gruden still carry the old man's convictions that the NFL is out to get them personally. You're not that important any more, Raiders, get over yourselves and try not to be such a slapdick franchise.
 

ifmanis5

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2007
64,927
Rotten Apple
Joe Tacopina

/Aristocrats_Voice


Thanks for posting. DVA + Wickersham is a heavy hitter combo. ESPN was wise to put this out today as well, being the slowest sports news day for maximum take cycles.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
6,358
from the wilds of western ma
How Dan Snyder was hoist by his own petard

This article is bananapants insane. Seriously, it's a must read

- there's the suggestion that it was the NFL itself who uncovered/leaked the emails because the league itself wanted Smith to continue as president of the NFLPA.

- Al Davis influenced Gruden to hate the league office. One day after a helmet to helmet flag Gruden criticized, Goodell wanted to fly him to New York to teach him about player safety. He refused. Gruden later wanted to promote youth football and expected to meet with Goodell, but Goodell sent a deputy which pissed off Gruden.

- Robert Kraft was the owner who enlisted Jay-Z and his company to work with the NFL on social issues.

- Desiree Perez, the CEO of Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s company) may have leaked some of the Gruden emails at the behest of Snyder.



There's so much crazy in this piece. Just read it. It's that good.
Thanks for the share. That’s just an insane read. The “blackmail power point” was practically out of a movie. What an utter and complete cesspool. A pox on all their houses.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,207
Snyder's an asshole. Gruden's a paranoid ignoramus. Goodell is a crime boss.
 

nattysez

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 30, 2010
8,754
My three takeaways from that story are that:
(1) the NFL front office is exactly the pit of vipers you'd think it is;
(2) the amount of racism, sexism, and homophobia among those in the NFL front office is exactly as bad as you think it is; and
(3) the NFL might not actually collect fines from anyone except those it decides to make an example of.

Deflategate makes so much sense against this backdrop. There was undoubtedly a similar array of political motivations behind Deflategate, some we may not even know about.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

Throw Momma From the Train
Moderator
SoSH Member
May 20, 2003
36,192
Deep inside Muppet Labs
My three takeaways from that story are that:
(1) the NFL front office is exactly the pit of vipers you'd think it is;
(2) the amount of racism, sexism, and homophobia among those in the NFL front office is exactly as bad as you think it is; and
(3) the NFL might not actually collect fines from anyone except those it decides to make an example of.

Deflategate makes so much sense against this backdrop. There was undoubtedly a similar array of political motivations behind Deflategate, some we may not even know about.
Remember that Goodell, Kensil, and Pash all worked for the Jets at one point.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,741
- One day after a helmet to helmet flag Gruden criticized, Goodell wanted to fly him to New York to teach him about player safety. He refused.
Great article, thanks for posting.

One little nit - the article tries to make the link that the leaked emails lead to further Congressional investigations, which lead to Snyder's real downfall. Not sure that the argument is very persuasive but it makes for a fun metaphor.

With respect to the line I quoted, it's bonkers who Goodell suggested might give Gruden his player safety lesson.
 

mauidano

Mai Tais for everyone!
SoSH Member
Aug 21, 2006
36,391
Maui
I read this whole article this morning. Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder are world-class pieces of shit. The rest of them fall in line quickly behind these horrible people including Jay Z who was in it with Perez for the $25MM. Greed and power are at play. The credibility of the NFL no longer exists. The epitome of the old boy network.

What a freaking crazy story and it's real.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
8,551
I had never heard that Al Davis got blocked on an Elway trade in 1983. What a wild NFL what if…? The early 80’s Raiders had mini-dynasty despite getting mostly awful regular season QB play out of the Plunkett/Marc Wilson combo. If Elway’s career plays out the same way, maybe the Raiders never leave LA and head back to Oakland.
 

Gash Prex

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 18, 2002
6,895
imagine the blowback against ESPN by the NFL for this piece. It’s like a bad movie script of thin skinned idiots running the most valuable sports league in the world
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,207
imagine the blowback against ESPN by the NFL for this piece. It’s like a bad movie script of thin skinned idiots running the most valuable sports league in the world
If they're smart (haha) they say nothing and just let the opening of training camps flush away the crap.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,207
And I of course will, once again, eagerly consume their product this fall. I am absolutely part of the problem.
ESPN, despite writing the story, will also be holding down the handle to keep the toilet in continuous flush mode.
 

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2002
14,217
Springfield, VA
The stories may be wild, but the piece reads more like a gossip column than an act of journalism.

In any case I'm not super thrilled with Gruden and Snyder going down in flames while Goodell and Pash get off scot free.
 

j-man

Member
Dec 19, 2012
3,788
Arkansas
great story the raiders has always been like this even back to the mid 70's when al davis wouild tell their grounds crew to mess the field up and al bugged the visitor locker room as well the pats ended the raiders in 1985 and they never have got over that loss
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,207
It's now the next to last link on the front page when you open the app.
"Sorry Don and Seth. We said we'd let you keep *doing* the work. We didn't say anything about not burying it."
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,207
The stories may be wild, but the piece reads more like a gossip column than an act of journalism.
Though a coach *did* get fired and an NFL owner *was* forced to sell the team. I think that reality makes it much less gossipy.
 
Last edited:

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,301
My three takeaways from that story are that:
(1) the NFL front office is exactly the pit of vipers you'd think it is;
(2) the amount of racism, sexism, and homophobia among those in the NFL front office is exactly as bad as you think it is; and
(3) the NFL might not actually collect fines from anyone except those it decides to make an example of.

Deflategate makes so much sense against this backdrop. There was undoubtedly a similar array of political motivations behind Deflategate, some we may not even know about.
I’ve written a lot about Deflategate, which is why I talk a lot about it here. But that book, including insight from TB and BB and RK, needs to be written.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,960
I have ZERO doubt that all of these dipshit fuckface assholes are dipshit fuckface assholes, but Seth Wickersham's professional integrity is something I have no faith in.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,960
Goodell is a crime boss.
Goodell is no boss. He's a consigliere for a collective of bosses; some of whom carry more weight than others.

edit: which means there's no way he'd order the hit on Gruden himself, even if he's the guy who had the emails leaked.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Moderator
SoSH Member
Jun 22, 2008
36,402
Jon Gruden still doesn’t realize he’s just a pawn. He was never important enough for Roger Goodell to bother destroying.

The article suggests that Goodell protected Snyder even though the owners, with the possible exception of Jerry Jones, would’ve been perfectly happy to toss Snyder overboard. Wickersham has no explanation for this. It’s the biggest hole in his narrative imo, and makes me wonder how well he actually understands the political dynamics. (Not suggesting Wickersham is intentionally pushing an agenda, but there’s a big piece of the story that he didn’t uncover.)

It’s fun to imagine that Snyder would’ve been fine if he’d just minded his own business and not tried to play Machiavellian political games, but again, I’m not convinced Wickersham actually understands the dynamics. The link between Snyder and the NYT reporter is persuasive, but I don’t think Wickersham came up with that on his own; knowing who fed him that piece might help shed light on the rest.

Definitely a good read, despite its shortcomings. Thanks for sharing SJH.
 

Spelunker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
12,617
Joe Tacopina

/Aristocrats_Voice


Thanks for posting. DVA + Wickersham is a heavy hitter combo. ESPN was wise to put this out today as well, being the slowest sports news day for maximum take cycles.
Mr Tacopina?

Mr. Joe Tacopina?
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,446
It turns out Roger Goodell (and henchman Jeff Pash) are precisely who we thought they were. Amoral, self-interested, dishonest and petty.

There probably is someone out there not in Roger Goodell's family who still thinks Deflategate was a legitimate violation, but it's an increasingly small set of people for sure...

To Mauf's point, isn't the answer on Snyder that 1) Goodell generically wants to protect his patrons, which is each individual owner, until it is in his interest to do otherwise and 2) he was eventually constrained by the Blackmail PPT and had to protect Snyder? That's how I read it. Politically, part of what protects Goodell is that each individual owner is not motivated to remove Goodell, and one of the reasons is they don't think he's really going to hold them accountable.
 
Feb 26, 2002
6,708
Citifield - Queens, NY
I think Seth Wickersham wrote a scathing article about our local football franchise some time ago, and he was greatly dismissed by many on this board.

Now he writes another in-depth article about another NFL Team(s) and it's lauded as a great piece of journalism and iron-clad fact.

Very interesting.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,741
I think Seth Wickersham wrote a scathing article about our local football franchise some time ago, and he was greatly dismissed by many on this board.

Now he writes another in-depth article about another NFL Team(s) and it's lauded as a great piece of journalism and iron-clad fact.

Very interesting.
I'm not sure what you are referring to but I don't think anyone who responded to this thread would chose the term "great journalism" to describe the story, except for maybe from a hat.

The piece was a really entertaining narrative. People have pointed out some journalistic flaws. I think the moral of the story is: (i) someone leaked the emails; (ii) lots of people had motive; (iii) doesn't seem like many of the actors in the NFL are "role models" (for lack of a better term); (iv) Dan Snyder probably will not own WAS for much longer, and (v) we're all entertained whether or not the stories are true, false, or embellished.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,446
I think Seth Wickersham wrote a scathing article about our local football franchise some time ago, and he was greatly dismissed by many on this board.

Now he writes another in-depth article about another NFL Team(s) and it's lauded as a great piece of journalism and iron-clad fact.

Very interesting.
I don't see anyone saying that, and you can quote anyone who you feel did. I worry that you're oversimplifying based on your own filter rather than taking the time to read specific posts--but feel free to prove that wrong with specifics.

For many of us, what we read is always a blend of sourcing, fact, and opinion. This is no different, nor was the Brady/BB/Kraft piece. The challenge several of us raised with the Pats piece was the overall conclusion about level of tension didn't have a lot of direct sourcing (though lots of specific examples within the article did). That leaves the author open to the question "did anyone say what you are concluding?" This piece is better about that---there's specific sourced references to many of the overall themes. But neither of these is perfect, and I suspect in both cases there's a fair amount of truth and also some misdirection that went on.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,207
It’s fun to imagine that Snyder would’ve been fine if he’d just minded his own business and not tried to play Machiavellian political games, but again, I’m not convinced Wickersham actually understands the dynamics. The link between Snyder and the NYT reporter is persuasive, but I don’t think Wickersham came up with that on his own; knowing who fed him that piece might help shed light on the rest.
Van Natta is a NYT alum, fwiw.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,741
This piece is better about that---there's specific sourced references to many of the overall themes. But neither of these is perfect, and I suspect in both cases there's a fair amount of truth and also some misdirection that went on.
Agree that most journalism these days is a blend of fact and opinion. I probably am less certain about your characterization that this piece is "better about that". I mean the title of the story is How the Leaked Emails Lead to Dan Synder's downfall, and he doesn't even mention any link until he quotes some unnamed Congressional source about 3/4 of the way through the story. And frankly, I would have thought that keeping a second set of books was probably more directly causative of Synder's ouster than anything else.

Still, entertaining read.

Van Natta is a NYT alum, fwiw.
I went to college with Ken Belson. He was a pretty good drummer.
 

gammoseditor

also had a stroke
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
4,309
Somerville, MA
I think Seth Wickersham wrote a scathing article about our local football franchise some time ago, and he was greatly dismissed by many on this board.

Now he writes another in-depth article about another NFL Team(s) and it's lauded as a great piece of journalism and iron-clad fact.

Very interesting.
IIRC the other article was light on facts and heavy on soap opera like opinions.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,446
Agree that most journalism these days is a blend of fact and opinion. I probably am less certain about your characterization that this piece is "better about that". I mean the title of the story is How the Leaked Emails Lead to Dan Synder's downfall, and he doesn't even mention any link until he quotes some unnamed Congressional source about 3/4 of the way through the story. And frankly, I would have thought that keeping a second set of books was probably more directly causative of Synder's ouster than anything else.
Fair that the title (which he may not even have agreed wtih, as a note) is not super well supported. I would say he has a lot of sources who are willing to state their opinions on who had access and motive to leak the emails. That is useful reporting and not 'opinion' and what i found most damning in the overall story so my characterization is more about having sources to support who and why the leak occurred, which is fairly different than the Patriots story that was more a conclusion about friction that was largely owned by the author, not by sources.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
27,584
Newton
I think Seth Wickersham wrote a scathing article about our local football franchise some time ago, and he was greatly dismissed by many on this board.

Now he writes another in-depth article about another NFL Team(s) and it's lauded as a great piece of journalism and iron-clad fact.

Very interesting.
As I think I said elsewhere that, despite the moaning about Wickersham’s piece on the Pats in 2017, a lot of the tensions people were denying between Brady and Belichick here turned out to be more or less true and led to his departure in 2020.

In particular, a number of posters hung their hats on things like “‘Patriot of the Week’ isn’t a real award” as evidence that Wickersham was fabricating stories or being used by sources to suggest that Brady was unhappy. Well, as we saw in Tom Vs. Time, when he and Guerrero were stuck finding a stadium box for treatment, Brady was unhappy and it took Kraft giving Josh a godfather offer to back out of the Indy job to keep Tom (and maybe Gronk) in the fold after the LII loss.

My sense is that Patriot Place is a really hard place to cover – Stacy James runs a tight ship with very few people in position to know. So, yes, Wickersham may have had to fill in a few gaps here and there – but had most of the story correct. As we now more or less know.
 

yeahlunchbox

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 21, 2008
828
Did anyone else reading this think the Krafts might be one of the sources for this article? I felt Robert looked particularly good in recognizing the league's race issue and brokering a deal and there was a brief throwaway about Deflategate being one-sided.

"Goodell had lengthy discussions with various groups of players about systemic racism and social justice, but the NFL was now struggling to find ways to be proactive. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, among other owners, thought the league needed outside help. Kraft consulted Jay-Z, who had called out the NFL after ESPN reported that then-Texans owner Bob McNair had said of players in a closed-door meeting: "We can't have the inmates running the prison."
According to sources, Kraft told Jay-Z, "The NFL isn't picking up on these social issues. We need your help."
Kraft connected Jay-Z and Roc Nation to Goodell."

"It was an atypical and collaborative process, as compared with the way the league typically metes out punishment -- notably in the one-sided judgments after Bountygate and Deflategate."
 

Bongorific

Thinks he’s clever
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
8,515
Balboa Towers
I'd be all for such an immolation. Add to that group Pash, who was one of the biggest pushers of Deflategate. He gets hammered in this piece as well.

It cracks me up that Mark Davis and Gruden still carry the old man's convictions that the NFL is out to get them personally. You're not that important any more, Raiders, get over yourselves and try not to be such a slapdick franchise.
Still out to get them….including when they got screwed on the tuck rule which was a rule Gruden never heard of. Even though it was a rule on the books that was called during the regular season. I thought he was the smartest man in the room?
 
Feb 26, 2002
6,708
Citifield - Queens, NY
My sense is that Patriot Place is a really hard place to cover – Stacy James runs a tight ship with very few people in position to know. So, yes, Wickersham may have had to fill in a few gaps here and there – but had most of the story correct. As we now more or less know.
Unless Tom Brady himself is the main source of information for Seth. ;)
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
14,059
Mansfield MA
It is kind of funny: it's an article that is largely speculating on who leaked information to the media for what purpose. And part of me is wondering: who leaked the information to Wickersham and Van Natta that made up this article, and for what purpose? Media in 2023 I guess.