NFL to Jones: Behave or we’ll try to take away your toys

NFL to Jones: Behave or we’ll try to take away your toys

NFL to Jones: Behave or we’ll try to take away your toys
Jerry Jones // Getty Images

For the last few seasons, the NFL has looked more like the Keystone Cops than a well-run sports organization. We’ve had Deflate Gate, inconsistent discipline for drug violations, criminal charges, etc. This year, we’ve seen falling television ratings continue to plummet, especially for Sunday and Monday night games. NFL profits are declining as well. Amid all this, word broke over the last 24 hours that some NFL owners are considering ways to force Jerry Jones out of the league. Are they freaking crazy?

I’m no fan of Jerry Jones, never have been. He is crass and head-strong. He is also one of the most successful team owners. He took a team that was losing in the area of $1 million a month and turned it around. The Cowboys are now valued at more than $4 billion. That, apparently, isn’t enough for some owners.

It seems that certain owners have decided that Jerry isn’t playing nice. They have discussed using a clause in the ownership contract that would allow them to force him to sell the Cowboys:

Article VIII of the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws. Specifically, Section 8.13 authorizes the Commissioner to determine that an owner “has been or is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.” If the Commissioner believes the available sanction (a $500,000 fine) is “not adequate or sufficient,” the Commissioner may refer the issue to the NFL’s Executive Committee, which has the power to compel “[c]ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated,” with a directive to sell the team.

What has Jones done that is so serious some of the owners would even consider this option?

Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

It really isn’t that difficult to figure out. Jones has been one of the most outspoken owners against the National Anthem protest. I haven’t seen the stats for yesterday games, but before then the Cowboys had been one of half a dozen or fewer teams where none of the players had knelt during the Anthem. Jones has also been outspoken about how NFL head Roger Goodell has handled — or mishandled — disciplinary matters. He has also been very outspoken about the possible renewal and/or extension of Goodell’s contract.

In fact, it is extremely telling that this talk by “multiple owners” about ousting Jones came approximately five days after Jones retained an attorney to file suit against the NFL and certain owners over the Goodell contract. Jones wants accountability for Goodell, what any good executive or stockholder would want for a CEO. When seeing some of the contract provisions Goodell has asked for, I can’t blame Jones either. Among Goodell’s demands are a $50 million salary and his own private jet. This at a time when the league is losing viewership and advertising dollars.

Instead of looking at the real issues the NFL faces — falling revenues and viewership — some owners apparently want to silence Jones. They blame him for Papa John’s Pizza not only pulling its ads but for the owner of the company going public with the why of it all. They accuse Jones of orchestrating it. In other words, they think Jones took the family’s dirty laundry and aired it in public.

The problem with that is it wouldn’t matter if he did or not. The NFL, and Goodell specifically, did that when they refused to take a stance on the National Anthem protests. They did it when they waited much too long to take a stance on drug violations and domestic abuse allegations. They did it when they ignored the recommendations of the lead investigator in the Zeke Elliot case, giving the appearance that the league was not only over-reacting but also punishing Jones and the Cowboys. It wasn’t Jones who turned his back on the NFL and its best interests, it was the NFL and Goodell who did so.

If these “multiple owners” do try to go after Jones, I hope they are ready for a fight. Jones won’t simply bow down and let them steamroll him. He will go to battle and there will be bodies, metaphorically at least, left in his wake. If the NFL survives the battle, it will not come out on the other side as the same NFL we know now. That might not be a bad thing but are the owners really willing to risk losing millions, possibly even billions, to try to make a point?

This will not be a battle of two giants. This will be David vs. Goliath and this time Goliath, Jerry Jones, will win and NFL fans, like him or not, will cheer because he is one of the few owners who remembers who holds the real power—the fans. That’s something Goodell and the NFL ought to remember. Otherwise, we will soon be watching them kill the league they claim to love.

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  • Bucky Barkingham says:

    Goodell is going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  • Amanda Green says:

    And blame everyone but himself as he does.

  • Scott says:

    Gee, no National Felons League on Sunday… what will we do???

    • Amanda Green says:

      What we’re doing now because we aren’t watching them? 😉

      • Scott says:

        Exactly! I’ve got far more important things to do than waste a Sunday like that..(working if i’m on shift, studying, spending time with family, being outdoors, etc..) Now college football on Sat? that’s still a different thing.. for now..

  • Romey says:

    I can’t imagine the carnage that would result from anyone trying to take the Dallas Cowboys from Jerry Jones. I have never been a fan of Jones, but screwing with a multi billionaire and his sports team cannot be a strong career move. Just the litigation costs could exceed the GDP of many countries. Grab the popcorn, it would be fun to watch, though I can’t see anyone stupid enough to try. Even Rodger Goodell is not that dumb.

  • GTB says:

    I dare them….I double dog-dare them to do that to JJ

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