The recent report from Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated regarding the alleged antics of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at a March 2 negotiating session with the players lacked one thing that the classically-trained journalists in the crowd would regard as essential — a response from the Cowboys, or an indication that a response was sought.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal adds the missing ingredient. Predictably, the Cowboys have denied that which Trotter has supplied.
“It wasn’t as dramatic as Trotter made it sound and Jerry never left the room as some might infer,” Cowboys V.P. of P.R. and Communications Rich Dalrymple told Kaplan. “A lot to do about a little.”
Trotter, per Kaplan, claims he contacted the league for a response. (Usually in such situations, the league’s response is, “Check with the team involved.”) The Cowboys claim that Trotter never contacted them for a response.
Either way, Trotter’s story says nothing about a response from the team or the league being sought or received.
“I don’t think we’ve got your attention,” Jones reportedly told the players. “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 then tapped his fists together and got up and started to walk out. Trotter specifically said that Jones walked “toward the door”; the report was interpreted by many (including us) as indicating that Jones actually walked out, Animal House-style. Kaplan writes that Trotter concedes he should have made it clear that Jones did not leave. Trotter now says that Jones stood in the corner of the room for 30 minutes.
Said Dalrymple: “Just one side of a closed door meeting from a guy who wasn’t in the meeting. Jerry’s not going to get into it. Knuckles or no knuckles.”
Trotter contends that the story was based on four sources who were in the room.
We’ve got a feeling that the report is a lot closer to being completely accurate than completely inaccurate. However, by failing to seek a response on such a potentially inflammatory item that was published not in real-time on the Internet but in a weekly magazine, Sports Illustrated invited the criticism it will now receive.