When Beth Wilkinson launched her nearly year-long investigation into the Washington Football Team's toxic workplace culture in 2020, one would figure the coach who presided over the team for six seasons — a regular fixture around the office — would be a primary target in the probe.
But, Wilkinson's investigative efforts never crossed paths with Jay Gruden, who served as Washington's head coach from 2014 until he was fired five games into the 2019 season.
"Were you questioned by Beth Wilkinson," Gruden was asked during his weekly appearance with Chris Russell and Pete Medhurst on The Team 980. "How did that go and, if so, what was your experience?"
"No, I haven't been questioned," Gruden acknowledged. "I don't even know what the heck is really going on. Once I was let go out of there, I just was let go and I just kind of backed away quietly."
"So they never approached you in any sort of way for your evaluation of the culture, or the toxic workplace, as it was called," he was asked.
"No," Gruden said. "No."
Gruden was then informed of the 650,000 emails that the NFL has in its possession, which reportedly stemmed for Wilkinson's investigation, some of which resulted in his brother, Jon Gruden, being exposed for using a racial trope to describe NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Among other disturbing emails to surface this week, resulting in Jon Gruden resigning.
Now the NFLPA is requesting that the NFL release those emails, which could potentially expose more untoward behavior. Gruden was asked if he expects more information to come out, and if he knows of anyone else who should be nervous, should those emails be released.
"I don't know what they're looking for, to be honest with you," Gruden said. "Like I said, I was just a football coach. Our staff I thought worked extremely hard. I thought our players worked extremely hard. We did the best we could to win football games."
"What went on as far as other issues are concerned, I wasn't privy to a lot of that information," he said. "That was between Dan [Snyder] and Bruce [Allen] and whoever else was privy to that. So that's probably why I wasn't called up or questioned. I had nothing to do with any of that stuff. I always tried to get the players out there to play, get some healthy players out there to play and compete."
Wilkinson concluded her investigation officially in July, when the NFL asked her to submit an oral report. Washington was fined $10 million as a result.