In March, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones privately communicated his concerns to his partners regarding the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. On Wednesday, Cowboys COO, executive Vice President, and director of player personnel Stephen Jones acknowledged that the franchise believes the time has come for careful scrutiny and possible overhaul of the league’s decades-old position on marijuana.
“Well, our system, our testing, has been in place for years and not unlike we do in our organization . . . we always look to see how we can do it better,” Stephen Jones said in an interview with PFT Live that will be included in Thursday’s show. “I think Jerry’s opinion, my opinion, is this program, this system has been in place for a long time. I think it needs to be heavily scrutinized in terms of its results.
“Is it helping players in terms of their accountability? And, obviously, addiction is a sickness and you want to make sure — obviously, there’s accountability but it’s also a program that helps players get better. I think personally, I know Jerry and I think that it might could be done better and we just need to take a look at it. Like I said, it’s been the same program that’s been in place for many, many years and I think all things to do with the NFL, we should all want the very best for our players. We should want the very best for our organizations and we should want the very best for our fans, and that’s anything that has to do with the NFL.
“In my opinion, we should take a long hard look at how we’re doing this and see if there’s a way, a better way to do it. What that is, I don’t have the answer. But we have a lot of smart people that can get in there and analyze something and really make some good decisions and see if there need to be changes.”
In asked Stephen Jones whether the dramatic shift in societal and legal attitudes toward marijuana should be a factor in the league’s assessment of the situation.
“You know, I think it should be a part of what’s looked at,” Stephen Jones said. “When you re-look at the whole program, I think you should take a look at every aspect of it. From the testing to the discipline to the amounts, anything to do with this. At the end of the day our goal should be to help players who have sicknesses and addictions and make them better people off the field, and then how we go about that I think is what needs to be looked at and make sure we’re doing everything the best way we can do it. Obviously, when you look at something like that you have to look at, ‘How do we do it in society right now? How does that affect the way a player sees his situation in that lens?’ And then make decisions based on that.”
Whatever the decisions may be, it’s becoming more and more clear that the status quo, while possibly beneficial from the standpoint of give-and-take collective bargaining with the players’ union, isn’t helping the league from the broader perspective of what’s right for the teams, the players, the fans, and ultimately The Shield.
For plenty more from Stephen Jones, check out the video attached to this post. Or watch the show tomorrow morning on NBCSN (7:00 a.m. ET). Or both.