Amid the backdrop of the National Football League’s ongoing controversy with players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest America’s police, tensions between divisive NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appear to be worsening to the point where some are reportedly considering a way to force ownership of the Cowboys franchise away from Jones completely.
NBC Sports has the details of this so-called “nuclear option”:
A league source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that multiple owners already have been discussing the possibility, which flows from 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.
It’s obviously an extreme outcome, and it surely would trigger years of litigation. But the possibility has emerged primarily because Jones has opted to take family business outside the family. As the source explained it, the primary affront comes from the belief among owners that Jones instigated Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter to disparage the NFL, blaming league leadership for ratings declines and, in turn, a reduction in Papa John’s revenues.
It’s unknown whether the NFL or any of its owners has warned Jones of a potential attack on his ownership of the Cowboys, and at this point it’s unlikely that any such effort will be made. However, the topic has emerged among owners, due directly to Jones’ recent threats of litigation and related efforts to disrupt the business of the league.
As TFPP has previously covered, Jones has been one of the only major voices in the NFL to unequivocally state that his players would be required, not just encouraged, to stand and respect the National Anthem — a stand for which leftists like ESPN host Michael Wilbon have hysterically compared him to a slave owner.
However, Jones’ enforcement of that threat has been inconsistent — he gave defensive lineman David Irving a complete pass for raising his fist during the anthem, while fellow player Damontre Moore got cut from the team for doing the same thing.
As TFPP has also covered, the protests aren’t the only — perhaps not even the biggest — point of contention between Jones and the league. He is among the team owners who wants Goodell to lose his job for mishandling a variety of high-profile controversies. From an ESPN report last month:
The owners on Thursday’s conference call are generally unhappy with Goodell and the NFL’s front office for a variety of reasons, including the player protests staged during the national anthem, issues regarding the relocation of teams to Los Angeles and the league’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, according to sources.
“You don’t get to have this many messes over the years like Roger has had and survive it,” one owner said during the call […]
Sources have previously said that Jones has tried to stand in the way of any extension for Goodell. Last month, ESPN reported that Jones was impeding the progress of contract negotiations aimed at an extension for Goodell. “If not for Jerry,” one owner said last month in regard to the contract negotiations, “this deal would be done.”
When the smoke clears, who do you think will still be with the NFL: Roger Goodell or Jerry Jones? Share your predictions below.