While the initial comments of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones regarding his June conversation with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson didn’t address many/any relevant specifics of the call, Jones later revisited the subject — and his defense to any potential tampering investigation became crystal clear.
“I understand the tampering thing, and you have to be an initiator,” Jones said, via Drew Davison of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.
While Jones definitely would be facing a serious problem under the tampering policy if he’d been the one to call Peterson, the policy specifically addresses the situation in which a player contacts another team and expresses interest in eventually playing for that team.
Here’s the precise language: “If a club is contacted by a player (or his representative) who is under contract to or whose negotiating rights are held by another club, and such player had not been given permission to deal with other clubs, or such player is not in a permissible negotiating period under the terms of an operative collective bargaining agreement, then the contacted club is prohibited from talking or otherwise dealing with the player or his representative, and the contacted club must immediately report such contact to the owner or operating head of the club which holds the player’s rights.”
Here’s what it means in English: Jerry Jones should have called Zygi Wilf as soon as the call with Peterson ended. If, as it appears, Jones didn’t do that, he has violated the tampering policy.
So what will the NFL do about it? Based on past precedent in this and other contexts, the simple answer is whatever it wants.