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Report: NFL's top lawyer Jeff Pash brokered penalty, traded diversity jokes in emails with ex-WFT president Bruce Allen

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A new round of email leaks shows a personal relationship between NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and ex-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen that included jokes about the league's diversity efforts and the brokering of a league fine, The New York Times reported Thursday night

The report revealed emails exchanged between the two from 2009-2018 amid a multitude of team scandals and prior to a league investigation into workplace misconduct in Washington. Pash later oversaw Beth Wilkinson, the attorney who was hired to investigate sexual harassment claims against the franchise, per the report.

Report: Pash oversaw revocation of WFT fine

Among the exchanges includes a discussion that preceded the revocation of a league fine of the team, according to the report. In 2013, the NFL fined the franchise $15,000 when then-coach Mike Shanahan was found to have doctored an injury report in violation of league policy. 

When the league denied Allen's appeal of the fine, he responded in an email that included Pash and other league officials: “BS." Pash wrote back to Allen that the team needn't pay the $15,000 “or any other amount with respect to this matter and you should consider the fine to be rescinded in its entirety" as he overruled his staff to rescind the fine, per the report.

In another exchange where Allen wrote that he was concerned that commissioner Roger Goodell would accuse him of breaking rules regarding free-agent signings, Pash responded: “He knows who it is and that it is not you,” per the report. 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21:  NFL executive Vice President Jeff Pash address the media during the NFLAnnual Owners Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL Owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12, the league is conducting it's annual owner meeting in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NFL general counsel Jeff Pash is the subject of another email leak published by the New York Times. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Repot: Pash, Allen shared jokes about diversity efforts

The Times also reports that the two traded jokes about the NFL's diversity efforts and team's efforts to attract Latino fans. 

“I am not sure this song will be as popular after the wall gets built," Pash wrote to Allen after Allen emailed him a song meant to appeal to Latino fans. 

Pash also appeared to align with Allen's fight against changing the team's former nickname that's a racial slur for Native Americans. Allen sent him an article about U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell's former high school that also had a mascot using Native American imagery. Cantwell was a vocal critic of the Washington nickname. 

Pash responded to the article: “No way. Too good to be true,” per the report. 

Allen complained to Pash about the 2016 NFL hiring of Jocelyn Moore as the league’s chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill, per the report. Moore is Black and a Democrat.

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

Pash responded: "No, but it can sometimes look that way!”

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

The Rooney rule is NFL rule requiring teams to consider minority candidates for coaching and executive hires.

Redskins president Bruce Allen on the sidelines before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Allen's name has surfaced in another email leak: (Robert Deutsch/Reuters)

Report: Pash reassured Allen amid WFT scandals

When the team was embroiled in a 2018 scandal involving sexual harassment and a topless photo shoot of cheerleaders, Posh wrote to Allen: “I know that you are on it and would not condone something untoward,” the Times reports.

Allen was found to have shared a topless photo of Washington cheerleaders in a previous email leak that led to Jon Gruden's resignation from the Las Vegas Raiders, according to the Times.

When Allen expressed concern to Pash over a penalty for Washington breaking the league's roster spending limit, Pash assured Allen that he was "not blowing you off." He then referenced Allen's gift of a Hooters VIP card, according to the Times.

“Still talking internally about this,” Pash wrote. “I am not making any promises as to an outcome. But I can assure you that I am not blowing you off.”

“We may not see this the same way," he wrote in a followup email. "But that does not change my respect or affection for you. After all, nobody else has ever given me a Hooters VIP card.”

Pash also donated $1,000 to Allen's brother George Allen's U.S. Senate campaign in 2012, per the report. 

NFL's response

NFL executive vice president of communications Jeff Miller defended Pash in a statement to the Times.

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

Neither Allen nor Pash responded to the Times' request for a statement.

The emails cited in Thursday's report are part of the trove of 650,000 emails that were part of the league's investigation into workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team, most of which have not been made public amid calls to do so. The Times did not disclose how it accessed the emails. 

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