The NFL will not attempt to force Jerry Jones to sell the Dallas Cowboys over his efforts to oppose the owners’ pending contract extension with Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the owner of one franchise and several others familiar with the situation.
“I don’t know where this is coming from about stripping him of his franchise,” the owner said Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the threat of litigation by Jones. “That’s ridiculous. That’s not going to happen.”
That was confirmed by two others with knowledge of the league’s inner workings.
The owner said Jones could be subject to a fine if he files a lawsuit, and he also would face the prospect of paying attorney fees for both sides, under league rules.
“If he files a lawsuit, he could be subject to attorney fees and maybe a fine,” the owner said.
The NFL informed Jones’s lawyer, David Boies, in a letter from a league attorney that it considers Jones to be engaged in conduct detrimental to the league. Jones could be fined or suspended if found guilty, and the Cowboys could be stripped of one or more draft picks. There have been reports of consideration by some owners of possibly forcing Jones to sell the Cowboys, a franchise with an estimated value of more than $4 billion.
Jones told owners on the compensation committee, which is negotiating Goodell’s five-year contract extension, that he had hired Boies and was considering a lawsuit to stop the extension. In a letter by a Cowboys attorney, Jones also accused Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, chairman of the compensation committee, of misleading owners about the negotiations.
Owners are scheduled to meet next month in Dallas. The owner said “there’s a chance” Goodell’s extension could be completed before or at that meeting.
Jones wrote a letter to Goodell Thursday, seeking to have a special owners’ meeting scheduled for Nov. 28 in New York. The meeting, Jones wrote, would be to address the negotiations of Goodell’s contract extension, oversight of the compensation committee and a date for all owners to vote on Goodell’s contract. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Washington Post.
Jones cited the threats of discipline against him and wrote: “Such severe threats of retaliation further demonstrate the dysfunction of the current process, and show the danger of reposing excessive power in a single executive position or committee where an owner’s right to his franchise is threatened simply because he questions the negotiation process of a compensation package.”
The league and other owners say no further ratification vote of the owners is required after they voted, 32-0, in May to authorize the compensation committee to negotiate the deal with Goodell.
Jones also wrote to Goodell: “As you are also aware and concerned, the League has undergone unprecedented upheaval in the last two years, including a significant decline in television ratings, increased advertiser discontent, high-profile litigation concerning player suspensions, and decreasing ticket sales. This is not the time for the League to undertake massive contractual obligations which are inconsistent with the League’s performance.”
Jones’s request was rejected by owners on the compensation committee, according to a person close to the situation.
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