This fall, we’ve witnessed the National Football League suffer through unprecedented upheaval on a multitude of fronts. Right now, the league is still toiling with the circumstances that have arisen due to the Colin Kaepernick-inspired protests. Indeed, though many players who had previously protested decided to stand over the Veteran’s Day weekend, it still is a major fly in the ointment, or grain of sand in the lotion, that usually soothes the NFL into a false security of being America’s favorite team sport.
However, according to multiple sources, the league is suffering through a veritable hemorrhagic fever of calamities as it bleeds ratings and viewers at an unprecedented rate. Though many opposed to silent protests during the national anthem are blaming players for this, our time traveling, plutonium powered sports car need only set its flex-capacitor to a couple years back to witness NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s astronomical bungling of the domestic violence case of the disgraced former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
That’s not even to mention the debilitating effects of CTE being a catastrophic workplace hazard for most NFL players.
So, when Roger Goodell initially came for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, it was kind of expected that he would punish Elliott to the maximum extent of his power, the courts be damned. Never mind that Elliott had never been charged or convicted of a crime, nor the fact that a woman hired by the NFL to investigate the claims reported back to Goodell that the individual levying the accusations against Elliott is likely unreliable, and perhaps just a bit messy. Besides all of that, Goodell was trying to correct his prior sins by coming hard for Elliott.
We’ve all known this for at least a year. But, according to some rumors, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell supposedly had a wink and nod conversation in which Goodell is said to have assured Jones that he would go light on Elliott, and that he could possibly avoid a suspension, according to unnamed source cited by the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
So Jerry Jones is saying Roger Goodell isn't HOSTILE ENOUGH toward Black players and he wants someone MORE EXTREME. I like my white supremacists OUT IN THE OPEN with their dirt. No more charades. https://t.co/Q11SlPJPuT
In journalism, objectivity is the key to credibility. However, that doesn’t always translate to the outside world. At one time, Jones was considered the single most powerful owner in the National Football League; owning the biggest, most expensive stadium, and the most lucrative franchise in the history of global team sports.
Jones has never been afraid to throw his considerable weight around. As a matter of fact, his demeanor and approach has garnered him respect and influence since he bought the team back in 1989.
Now, due to what appears to be a scramble for power, come reports that some owners are saber rattling and threatening to leverage their power as well.
With attorneys for Jones going toe-to-toe with the NFL, he is fighting the league on multiple fronts. Which, as any military man would tell you, isn’t the best idea in the world.
Last week, attorney Jason Cohen, representing the Cowboys, sent a letter to Jones' NFL counterparts and members of the league’s compensation committee alleging that owners were mislead about negotiations with Goodell by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who chairs the committee.
The NFL replied with a letter from attorney Brad S. Karp that accused the Dallas Cowboys of either being misinformed or seeking to mislead other owners on the topics at hand.
It has been widely reported that Jones has been the lone dissenting voice regarding Goodell's contract renewal. Jones has been critical of Goodell’s handling of the NFL protests, but the Ezekiel Elliott situation sticks out like a stubbed toe in Jesus sandals; sensitive, swollen and in great need of a fast remedy.
Jones has spoken about how badly the Elliott situation has hurt his team this season out of one side of his mouth, but says that his battle against the NFL isn’t about the Elliott situation. Yet, according to reports, Jones signed off on re-upping Goodell’s contract in the spring.
Now, since this entire situation has continued to unfurl, we find Goodell has taken a complete 180 degree turn on the matter. And, in light of Zeke’s recently reinstated six game suspension, we’re all supposed to believe that the Elliott situation has nothing to do with Jones’ consternation toward Goodell, right?
But it appears as if the rest of the league’s owners are just about through with his shenanigans.
“Your claims about the substance of the Commissioner’s proposed contract are similarly without foundation,” the NFL’s letter to the Cowboys, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, says. “Indeed, your description of the proposed extension is so at odds with the actual facts that we can only conclude that you are either uninformed or seek deliberately to mislead the other owners.”
As powerful as Jerry Jones is said to be, his fellow owners are no slouches in the power leveraging department, either. Jones, who led a group of 17 owners on a conference call to discuss the possibility of halting the pending contract extension for Goodell last week, now faces something of coup among those who figuratively stood beside him just days prior.
CBS Sports writer Jason La Canfora recently reported that other owners are giving Jones a major league side eye due to his emotional, apparently biased, attacks against Commissioner Goodell in response to Zeke’s suspension. This has eroded his influence considerably, he reports. The same story estimates that Jones’ increased isolation has resulted in him only having an around three owners who agree that Goodell needs to go. But he needs 24 votes to make it happen.
The news all Cowboys fans have been dreading, Zeke is suspended, effective immediately. Jerry Jones delayed it as long as humanly possible. Before the season even started, there was talk that Zeke might not start in Week 1. But fortunately for the Cowboys, Jones has managed to delay the suspension, that is until now.
"This is way over the top," one league source said. "You don't threaten to sue your business partners because you are pissed off that your running back got suspended. That's not how business is conducted in the league. Jerry already had only a handful of guys backing him on this (calling for Goodell's job), and he is isolating himself more and more by doing things this way. This isn't how you try to get your way in the NFL. It's not going to work."
Currently, Goodell’s contract will run until 2024. Due to his recent actions, Jones is no longer allowed to serve as an ad hoc member of the Compensation Committee. Though it’s not stated specifically, we can see how his credibility on the matter of Elliott and Goodell has hurt him.
"Jerry was fully on board with this right up until the suspension came down," one ownership source said. "That isn't lost on us."
And the saga continues, exponentially so. Now comes reports that NFL owners are considering an option that could in theory result in Jones losing his beloved, bejeweled and bedazzling franchise. It most likely is a bluff and, if they push for it, it would be a messy legal battle years, perhaps a decade, in the making.
However, the fact that it's even being brought up is indicative to the fact that Jerry Jones is getting on everybody's last nerve.