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Owners have their own nuclear option for dealing with Jerry Jones

When it comes to the lingering dispute regarding the Roger Goodell contract extension, much has been written and said about the potential nuclear option possessed by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. But the rest of the owners (or, more accurately, those who oppose Jones) have a nuclear option of their own.

They could, in theory, attempt to trigger forfeiture of the Dallas franchise.

A league source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that multiple owners already have been discussing the possibility, which flows from Article VIII of the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws. Specifically, Section 8.13 authorizes the Commissioner to determine that an owner “has been or is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.” If the Commissioner believes the available sanction (a $500,000 fine) is “not adequate or sufficient,” the Commissioner may refer the issue to the NFL’s Executive Committee, which has the power to compel “[c]ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated,” with a directive to sell the team.

It’s obviously an extreme outcome, and it surely would trigger years of litigation. But the possibility has emerged primarily because Jones has opted to take family business outside the family. As the source explained it, the primary affront comes from the belief among owners that Jones instigated Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter to disparage the NFL, blaming league leadership for ratings declines and, in turn, a reduction in Papa John’s revenues.

It’s unknown whether the NFL or any of its owners has warned Jones of a potential attack on his ownership of the Cowboys, and at this point it’s unlikely that any such effort will be made. However, the topic has emerged among owners, due directly to Jones’ recent threats of litigation and related efforts to disrupt the business of the league.

So, basically, if Jones’ ultimately doesn’t oust Goodell, Jones may need to worry about Goodell ousting Jones.