The NFL has decided to escalate its growing feud with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones by alleging that his efforts to "sabotage contract negotiations" with commissioner Roger Goodell is tantamount to conduct that is "detrimental to the league's best interests." Ironically, as the Wall Street Journal points out, proving that an owner's conduct is "detrimental to the league" is exactly what the NFL would have to prove in order to fine Jones and/or impose other penalties on him or his team.
The NFL accused Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones of trying to sabotage its contract negotiations with commissioner Roger Goodell, calling his conduct “detrimental to the league’s best interests.”
That language, included in a letter sent to Jones’s attorney on Wednesday and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, escalates a growing conflict between the league and one of its most powerful owners.
The tension has grown so severe that the topic of removing Jones has been discussed by at least some owners, according to three people familiar with the matter. That type of drastic action would require the league showing conduct detrimental to the league—which is exactly the language the league used in its November letter to Jones’s attorney, David Boies.
As the New York Times notes, Jones' relationship with Goodell and the NFL has soured since Goodell suspended the Cowboys’ star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, in mid-August. After the suspension, Jones seemingly retaliated by trying to slow discussions about the commissioner’s new pay package, which the owners on the compensation committee had been working on for months.
Jones has said in recent weeks that he has only been trying to increase the transparency of the contract negotiations and give more owners a voice in the process. Jones voted along with every other owner in May to approve an extension, but he has said that much has changed since then and that Goodell’s new contract should reflect these issues, which include the protests during the national anthem at N.F.L. games.
But two weeks ago, Jones, a nonvoting member of the compensation committee, escalated the dispute when he threatened to sue the league and the six owners on the committee if they did not bend to his will.
Not surprisingly, in a radio interview yesterday, Jones was dismissive of his risk of being banished from the league and described any chatter about his ouster as “ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, as the silly bickering and political posturing continues in the NFL, fans are increasingly sending the signal that they've had just about enough...as evidenced by Monday Night Football this past week posting the 4th worst ratings in ESPN history...perhaps it's time to take the hint?