Is Jerry Jones the object of owner-on-owner vigilantes?


Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones is reportedly about to be assessed in excess of $2 million by his fellow NFL owners for court costs and legal fees related to the suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott and Jones’ threatened-but-never-consummated lawsuit to block a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell. What court did the league have to go to? The Court of St. James?

If it cost the NFL over $2 million in court costs and legal fees to fight a lawsuit that Jones never filed and a suspension that was never legally challenged by Jones, the league better look at getting a new outside legal firm to represent them because the dudes they have now are overcharging them. Big time.

I mean, really? How do you have over $2 million in legal expenses for a suit that was threatened but never filed and a suspension fight it does not appear the Cowboys were ever materially a part of?

Elliott had every right to fight his six-game suspension in arbitration hearings, through an appeal to that unique form of bogus NFL justice where the guy who rules against you (or his minions) also gets to rule on your appeal of his rulings. He also had every right to sue as well and unless the NFL has proof positive that the Cowboys funded it, rather than the NFL Players Association or Elliott himself, how is Jones on the hook for the league’s expenses fighting Elliott?

As for Jones’ threatened lawsuit over a contract extension for Goodell that was ultimately approved by a vote of 32-0 (which means Jones voted FOR it), how much can a threat but not a suit cost? Saying its $2 million is like saying a designer suit without a jacket or pants still cost you five grand. No it did not.

That NFL owners have the legal right to claw back legal costs incurred fighting one of their own if he or she sues his fellow owners apparently has been true for more than 20 years, since the adoption of something called Resolution FC-6 in 1997. Sounds innocent enough but how can they tag Jones for a suit he didn't file?

What this actually appears to be is a warning to any owner who might ever want to sue his business partners that he may end up paying for the ammunition being shot back at him. Wonder who they had in mind when they thought that up?

Does the name Al Davis come to mind?

Regardless, it would seem a stretch to demand legal fees from Jones allegedly spent to fight a suit that was never filed and for court costs just because Jones told one of his best players “Go get ‘em, big fella.’’ Is “go get ‘em” a legal term?

Perhaps Jones and the Cowboys had something to do with Elliott’s decision to take legal action to have his suspension overturned. Certainly they were vocally in favor of it. But are they legally and financially bound to not tell an employee to exercise all the rights he has in an attempt to stay on the field? That argument would be a legal stretch even for Johnny Cochran.

Supposedly Goodell has no fingerprints on this. According to the stories circulating this week, it was angry owners peeved at Jones’ grandstanding on Goodell’s contract extension and his fury over the suspension of the most critical player on his team. Their problem is how can they prove a direct connection between Jones and Elliott’s union-backed appeals or the lawsuit Elliott filed but ultimately lost?

Can Jones’ business partners really shake him down for $2 million on what seems a “we think you helped Elliott in a material way’’ argument or do they have proof of that beyond Jones’ often flapping gums? If they don’t, it’s no wonder their legal fees are so high. They’re idiots.

When you boil this all down, it seems more like a spat between rich guys with too much time and money at their disposal. It also looks like a silly attempt to placate the bruised egos of owners like Arthur Blank, who chaired the Compensation Committee that negotiated Goodell’s extension, and to put Jerry Jones in his place.

Good luck with the latter. It will take a lot more than shaking him down for a couple million bucks to do that, folks.


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