The Sorry Behavior of Another Jones in Dallas

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By Leonard Shapiro
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, October 15, 2008; 5:03 PM

The NFL Network's pre-game show Sunday may well be worth watching for anyone who loves/hates the Dallas Cowboys.

They're going to interview Dallas owner Jerry Jones, presumably to talk about his appalling behavior in trying to make Adam "Pacman" Jones's recent scuffle with his own bodyguard go away by declining to discipline a player who has now had six arrests and 13 incidents involving police intervention since he came into the NFL in 2005.

The show also will include an interview with Jeff Pearlman, a relentless investigative reporter now with ESPN.com and the author of a new best-selling book, "Boys Will Be Boys," focusing on the early 1990s glory years of the Cowboys. In that memorable era, two teams coached by Jimmy Johnson and another by Barry Switzer combined to win three Super Bowls, despite an atmosphere that was more Sodom and Gomorrah than the Cowboys' Valley Ranch training and office complex.

I suspect Jones and Pearlman will not be in the same studio on Sunday, and a full reading of Pearlman's fascinating and often troubling tome will give you some idea as to why they almost certainly won't be doing the talk show or network pre-game show circuit much in tandem over the next few months.

Pearlman's book begins with a chilling incident involving Michael Irvin slashing the throat of one of his teammates in a barber's chair during training camp. That day, the Hall of Fame receiver went berserk with a scissors in his hand when offensive lineman Everett McIver refused to yield his seat so that Irvin could get his hair done first.

According to Pearlman, the Cowboys kept that story mostly under wraps with a widescale cover-up that even included Jerry Jones paying McIver to keep his mouth shut, the better to avoid having the Cowboys star receiver hauled off to jail for violating his probation on previous charges of cocaine possession.

Pearlman interviewed nearly 150 people associated with those championship 1990s teams -- players, coaches, front office types, secretaries, members of the media -- and virtually all of those conversations were on the record, giving his book clear-cut credibility virtually every word of the way.

Some of this stuff you really couldn't make up, including the existence of a far different sort of White House than most Washingtonians have gotten used to over the last 200 or so years. That would be the White House several of the players, including Irvin, defensive lineman Charles Haley and offensive lineman Nate Newton rented not far from where the Cowboys practiced football every day. The name on the lease, according to Pearlman, was wide receiver Alvin Harper.

What they practiced at this White House was mostly illegal, sort of like the Oval Office in the Nixon presidency. A number of Cowboys showed up on a regular basis to smoke a little weed, snort a lot of cocaine and welcome all manner of hookers and groupies who had the run of the perpetual party palace virtually 24 hours a day.

"The White House had everything one craves in a story," Pearlman wrote. "Sex, drugs, fame, football... When word of the White House finally broke, Jones and Switzer confessed to being shocked (shocked!) that a place of such ill repute existed. The Cowboys, after all, were a wholesome operation, made up of loyal, family-oriented men like, um, Jones, and uh, Switzer, who would, eh, never, ah, dream of cheating on, eh, a female."

Pearlman quotes Anthony Montoya, described as a gofer for the Cowboys players, as saying "Jerry Jones was chasing...the same women Michael Irvin was. He was out there just as bad as anyone else...Jerry saying he didn't know about the White House is a lie...a big lie. I'd get calls from the team saying 'can you get X player, we hear he's at the White House.' And usually, they were right."

Pearlman's book has soared to the best-seller list in recent weeks, just as Jerry Jones found himself in the middle of another sordid affair of a slightly different nature. This one involved one of his current players, Adam "Pacman" Jones, a cornerback acquired in the offseason despite a rap sheet/resume that includes six arrests and a dozen incidents involving the intervention of police since he came into the league in 2005.


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