Jerry Jones has reportedly threatened to sue the NFL’s six-owner compensation committee that has been tasked with negotiating Roger Gooodell’s extension, and that is apparently not the first time this year that the Dallas Cowboys owner has considered taking legal action against the league.
According to ESPN investigative reporters Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr., Jones was so angry over Goodell’s decision to suspend Ezekiel Elliott six games that he considered suing the league to have the ban overturned.
On Aug. 11, Goodell announced the six-game suspension of Elliott. Jones saw it as a “complete betrayal,” a source now says. “An overcorrection” by Goodell, Jones later called it publicly. Privately, Jones seethed to confidants that Goodell hadn’t studied the case’s many details, and he considered suing the NFL to get the suspension overturned. “Roger blew off his own investigator’s conclusion — it’s just patently unfair,” Jones told a confidant, a charge that a league source denies. Jones had turned on Goodell, perhaps for good.
Jones had said publicly that he was confident Elliott would not be suspended, and he expressed those beliefs privately as well. A lot of that had to do with the NFL’s own director of investigations, Kia Roberts, concluding that the woman who accused Elliott of domestic violence was not credible. Roberts recommended to Goodell that Elliott not be suspended based on the interviews she conducted.
After Jones spoke with Goodell about the case in May, he reportedly told people the commissioner assured him there would be no suspension and that Goodell would only recommend Elliott enter counseling and issue a statement. The NFL insists no such assurances were ever given.
It’s not a coincidence that Jones was said to be in support of Goodell getting an extension before Elliott was suspended. Since then, the Cowboys owner has done everything in his power to impede the contract negotiations, and one league executive told ESPN Jones has issued a very strong warning to Goodell.
“Jerry’s message to Roger was ‘I run this league. You better get with it,'” the exec said. “This is about power and control, not the contract. That’s all white noise.”
From the way it appears, most team owners are siding with Goodell over Jones. We have heard reports that Jones’ peers could consider taking drastic measures to silence him, but that seems unlikely. In many ways, the war has just begun.