The Washington Post

Jerry Jones and NFL mediation

Cowboys’ owner reportedly doesn’t have his finest moment in mediation

New York Giants owner John Mara, in measured, reasonable tones, has expressed his disappointment over the NFL and NFL Players Association’s inability to reach a labor accord.

Mara told the New York Daily News that he was “frustrated” by talks and that "there's no guarantee [the regular season] is not going to be affected. But I remain optimistic because I believe that we can make a deal that is fair for both sides. I don't think the players are interested in missing games and missing paychecks. Certainly the owners don't want to see that happen.

"We're ready to sit down at any time, but it just seems like the past couple of weeks we may as well have been sitting there staring at ourselves because not a lot was getting done. It just takes two sides wanting to sit down and negotiate a deal. Right now we only have one."

And then there’s Jerry Jones. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys apparently did not have his finest moment during mediation in Washington last week, according to a behind-the-scenes account by Jim Trotter of SI. com. He writes:

Jerry Jones, never one to pass up center stage, tried to lighten the mood by talking of his upbringing and the business acumen that led to his purchase of the Cowboys 22 years ago. The tenor changed when he began discussing how two years of negotiations had failed to bring the sides closer. What he said next, with arched eyebrows, helped steer the situation past the point of no return.

"I don't think we've got your attention,” Jones said to the players, several of whom recounted the incident to SI. "You clearly don't understand what we're saying, and we're not hearing what you're saying. So I guess we're going to have to show you to get your attention."

Jones tapped his fists together for emphasis—the players interpreted it as a sign that a lockout was coming—then stood and walked toward the door. As he reached the end of the table, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, another labor hawk, began to rise, but Robert Kraft of the Patriots, who was sitting next to him, put a hand on Richardson's forearm and kept him from going.

If Jones's intention was to intimidate the players, he failed. "I think everybody in the room thought it was overly dramatic, almost hilarious," one player said. "It was like a Jerry Maguire moment. You know, 'I'm leaving. Who's coming with me?' I know it didn't scare any of us.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.


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