Jerry Jones gets something few players receive: A chance to save some face

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The NFL announced on Wednesday that the controversy over legal fees to be reimbursed by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.” Although Jones apparently paid at least 80 cents on the dollar, if not more, of the roughly $2.5 million in legal fees the league sought to impose on him, the fact that he had a chance to enjoy even a slight effort to save face is a lot more than most, if not all, players achieve in the Court of Big Shield.

Not long after Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue as Commissioner in 2006, word quickly spread that the new regime wasn’t doing deals like the prior regime did regarding players starting at suspensions. Goodell quickly developed the reputation of “enforcer,” fighting tooth and nail instead of working to find middle ground on matters of player discipline.

In the Cowboys case, Goodell had the same kind of judge/jury/executioner power that players have complained about for years. Goodell could have found that Jones must pay 100 cents on the dollar, and Jones would have had no recourse.

But Jones got a chance to settle. To resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties. To create the impression of a win-win, when the approach with players is always the zero-sum game of win-lose.

Maybe Goodell and the Finance Committee (which also presided over the hearing, a curious twist that previously hadn’t been reported or disclosed) hoped to avoid Jones taking the full-blown “L” and then spouting off to the media that the outcome confirms his concerns about the power of the league office run amok. Regardless, the perception of a double standard has become a slice of reality in this case.

Goodell could have secured full victory against Jones, but Goodell chose not to. Why didn’t he similarly opt to, for example, reduce the Ezekiel Elliott suspension by a game, from six to five? Ultimately, it’s further proof that it pays to be one of the 32 people who pay the salary of the person making these decisions.

10 responses to “Jerry Jones gets something few players receive: A chance to save some face

  1. Perhaps Roger Goodell went easy on Jerry Jones in light of Zeke’s upheld six game suspension. In other words, maybe this is Goodell acknowledging the league’s role in instigating Jones’s detrimental conduct by being completely inflexible with the Zeke investigation. It may seem (and be!) unfair on an individual level, but it could make more sense to Goodell on the organizational, “big picture” level (i.e., Dallas’s overall punishment).

    That said, I despise Jones and wish him nothing but the cruelest, most unusual punishments. Bring out the chain gang!

  2. What?!?!? The NFL regularly reduces fines/suspensions ALL THE TIME.

    Talib, Crabtree, Davis, Trevathan, Iloka, etc. got reduced on appeal. In fact, it’s incredibly rare that the NFL DOESN’T reduce the initial penalty.

  3. Goodell could have secured full victory against Jones, but Goodell chose not to. Why didn’t he similarly opt to, for example, reduce the Ezekiel Elliott suspension by a game, from six to five? Ultimately, it’s further proof that it pays to be one of the 32 people who pay the salary of the person making these decisions.

    —————————-
    I think its because if Jones carried this to court the discovery process would have included internal NFL communications plus records between Goodell and several owners. Regardless of what they could do to Jones the prospect of having to hand over that stuff was to them a bigger danger. So Goodell really needed Jones to take enough punishment to look like he had done something but not push too hard that Jones decided to fight it out the rest of the way

  4. akira554 says:
    March 7, 2018 at 7:52 pm
    What?!?!? The NFL regularly reduces fines/suspensions ALL THE TIME.

    Talib, Crabtree, Davis, Trevathan, Iloka, etc. got reduced on appeal. In fact, it’s incredibly rare that the NFL DOESN’T reduce the initial penalty.

    ———————-
    Its always looked to me like the subsequent reduction was already built into the initial penalty handed down. That it was all just oart of a preplanned dance.

  5. Some wag here often refers to Jones as Skeletor, which tells me Jerry doesn’t have much face left to save at this point, personally or otherwise.

  6. I’m still not sure how you differentiate Kraft’s conduct
    in deflate gate from what Jerry did with Zeke.
    In addition ..Jerry had a little coming his way after
    the fine for exceeding a non- existent salary cap.
    In other words for refusing to violate Federal Labor
    Laws.
    How Goodell can actually pretend to be
    the poster boy for integrity and insist on being
    the the “ fair arbitrator “ over player discipline, after
    knowingly leading the owners to collude to rip the players
    off…..is amazing.

  7. Goodells legacy will forever be his Repugnant & Disrespectful behavior towards our fine Military. Rodge does not belong in this great country.

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