Jerry Jones vs. Roger Goodell

AP Jerrah and Goodell

How ’bout them cowboys?

They show up at high noon when everybody else ducks out and stand up to the big gun wearing the black hat. The NFL’s most famous Cowboy imagines he does just that right now.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seeks to stop the National Football League from extending the contract of Commissioner Roger Goodell. The New York Times and ESPN’s Outside the Lines both report Jones hiring superstar lawyer David Boies — attorney for the defendant in Bush v. Gore, for disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and for, yes, Roger Goodell’s NFL — in an effort to block Goodell’s contract.

The Times reported that “Jones said in a conference call last Thursday with the six owners — those of the Chiefs, Falcons, Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Texans — that legal papers were drawn up and would be served this Friday if the committee did not scrap its plans to extend Goodell’s contract.” When he informed those members of the compensation committee of his plans to sue the league, they reportedly asked him stay out of their group’s meetings.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports that its sources say “four or five owners” stand with Jones in opposing Goodell’s extension. ESPN noted the existence of about a half-dozen “fence-sitters” beyond the definite “no” votes. Given that the commissioner requires two-thirds of the owners to approve his deal, his job appears in some jeopardy. Jones need only convince those fence-sitters of Goodell’s incompetence, a service Goodell himself periodically provides for his critics, to stop the extension and shop for a new BertBellPeteRozellPaulTagliabue.

Many are the crimes of Goodell against Jones’s franchise: lowering the team’s salary cap as punishment for excessive spending in an uncapped season, suspending Ezekiel Elliott six games after the league’s investigator recommended no suspension, and blocking the team’s effort to honor slain Dallas cops with a decal all come to mind. But Goodell’s weakness against the anthem kneelers, rather than any offense against the Cowboys, that seems to primarily motivate Jerry Jones.

Jones, who knelt with players prior to the national anthem earlier this season, remains the owner most vocal in his displeasure with a pregame ritual to honor America turning into an anti-American publicity stunt. He acknowledges his conversations with the president on the subject. He bluntly says of Cowboys who decide to kneel for the national anthem, “They won’t play.”

Goodell’s refusal to take a similar approach leaguewide, or at least take action to quell the protests, irritates Jones and other owners losing millions because of the commissioner’s refusal to treat the protesters the way he might treat players wearing unapproved headphones or shirts that display logos of companies not sponsoring the league. Ratings plummet as viewers find another Sunday activity. Sponsors, including Papa John’s, begin to publicly complain. Even a visible number of stadium seats, for the first time in recent memory, consistently remain empty in various markets.

Jones, whose mission to decommission the commissioner appears if not a Cleveland Browns longshot at least a Jacksonville Jaguars longshot, enjoys some success in his crusade. “People come to our stadiums to be entertained and have fun,” Goodell said on Wednesday, “not to be protested to.” He sounds like Jerry Jones even though he does not act like him. Goodell’s words don’t match his actions, and the actions of dozens of NFL players do not mesh with millions of its fans. It’s a business, Jerry Jones seems to be saying, not a teach-in.

Roger Goodell is messing with Jerry Jones’s money. So, Jerry Jones is messing with the $40 Million Man’s money, too.

Cowboys love women, whiskey, and horses. They also betray a fondness for gold. The most famous Cowboy in Arlington, Texas, counts 4.8 billion reasons why he should protect his investment from a commissioner too busy displaying his wokeness to see all those eyes close, and wallets shut, on his sport.


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