The Dallas Cowboys are in the middle of a public relations maelstrom. Racy pictures of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with two young women were posted online and someone appearing to be NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino was caught leaving a party bus that may have been rented by Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones, the son of Jerry Jones.
One of the two photographs showed Jerry Jones behind a young blond woman with his hands on her breasts; the other showed a brunette kneeling with her face against his groin. TerezOwens.com first reported on the existence of the pictures.
The pictures first appeared in a 20-page post entitled “Uncovering the Truth,” supposedly released by a Dallas-based businessman, calling himself Frank Hoover, and insisting that he is the “Son of God.” Deadspin.com reports that Hoover “used to be fairly well-connected in the Dallas scene and was always going to parties with Cowboys and Mavericks players.”
On the Cowboys’ official website, Jones is lauded as a “family man.” He and his wife Gene have been married for 50 years, and have three children who work for the Cowboys.
The Blandino uproar started with a video posted on TMZ.com. As reported by Jason La Canfora for CBS Sports, many other executives who have viewed the video attest that it is indeed Blandino exiting the bus, which has infuriated them because of the impropriety of an NFL official buddying up with a team executive. The bus was photographed on the Sunset Strip, and Fox analyst Jay Glazer acted as a tour guide.
One team executive told La Canfora, “So, should I have my owner take him to a strip club when he visits us? Is that how it works? We like Dean a lot, but let me tell you, if that was him out with (the owner of a rival of the club this official works for), my owner would be going nuts. This just can’t happen.”
Another executive echoed, “If I were another team owner, how could I not be irate? It gives the appearance of impropriety, and looks like a particularly cozy relationship between a team and the officiating department at a time when instant replay is being taken over more and more by the league office. You’re damn right I’d be irate.”
The first official explained:
It shows a total lack of judgment, and common sense, to get on the bus in the first place. And then to get off it in that setting? Yeah, we’ve got a big problem with that. It’s one thing to have a drink or two back in the hotel room or whatever, but this goes way beyond that. How does this not look like preferential treatment? This is a league where everyone is looking for any edge they can possibly get, anything at all. And Dean is in a position where he is in communication with clubs all the time, teams are making sure officials are aware about what other teams are doing and what they should look for when they face them. I don’t care what anyone (at the league office) would try to tell you. To teams, this is definitely a big deal.
Blandino and the NFL have not answered La Canfora’s request for confirmation or denial. Complicating the situation is the fact that Jerry Jones is on the competition committee, which examines rules every year.