Jeff Pash, Bruce Allen had close relationship

The NFL general counsel took part in a long-running, chummy email relationship with the former Washington Football Team president that included jokes about racial diversity and arranging givebacks from the executive.

Jeff Pash, also a top confidant of commissioner Roger Goodell, corresponded with Washington’s Bruce Allen from 2009-18 — also sharing complaints about player-safety measures and other league initiatives, along with jokes about Native Americans, according to a New York Times report.

Allen, who was fired by the team in 2019, thanked Pash in the emails for helping with a league fine and being compassionate toward the troubled organization. He arranged tickets and other perks for his pen pal in return for their relationship, according to the Times.

Pash was in charge of NFL investigations into the Washington Football Team, but in the emails he sometimes reassured Allen not to worry about troubles coming the team’s and league’s way — including claims of harassment against organization.

The relationship between Allen and Pash, who joined the NFL in 1997, was revealed in the 650,000 emails gathered in the NFL’s investigation into the toxic work environment in Washington. The NFL ended up fining Washington $10 million in July and team owner Daniel Snyder stepped away from day-to-day operation of the club.

Bruce Allen and Jeff Pash
Ron Sachs/CNP, AP

“Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis,” NFL Executive V.P. of Communications Jeff Miller told the Times in a statement. “Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character N.F.L. executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false.”

The messaged were part of the same batch that unearthed emails from Jon Gruden over seven years in which he used homophobic, racist and misogynistic language the led to him resigning as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders this week.

“Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis,” NFL Executive Vice President of Communications Jeff Miller told the Times in a statement. “Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character N.F.L. executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false.”

According to the Times, Pash reached out to Allen after Washington was fined $15,000 for an improper injury report and the penalty was rescinded. Allen thought more trouble could be coming with regard to potential free-agent tampering, but Pash told him Goodell knows “that it is not you.” When the team was rocked by allegations of sexual harassment involving Washington’s cheerleader, Pash again reached out to Allen to say he knows “that you are on it” and would not “condone” something like that.

Goodell has been under increasing pressure to release all of the emails in the Washington investigation and take it public as more information comes to light. The league has had access to the emails for several months prior to the investigation coming to a close, according to the Times. The Washington cheerleaders were also part of the emails, which included inappropriate photos of the group’s members that were distributed by coaches. The NFL has refused to meet with 40 ex-WFT employees, including cheerleaders, awaiting more answers about the league’s investigation, according to USA Today.

Washington, which is off to a 2-3 start, announced Thursday that it will retire safety Sean Taylor’s No. 21 during a Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. The organization has since apologized after growing outrage over the short notice given for the honor.