Jerry Jones said plenty of things in his recent interview with Bob Costas. One on specific topic, the league at large may not be thrilled with the check that Jones has written.
Indeed, Jones seemingly committed the league to fully cooperating with the efforts of Congress to get to the bottom of the handling of the Washington Football Team investigation, and to welcome even more scrutiny.
It began with a simple question for Jones, regarding Washington owner Daniel Snyder. Has Snyder become a liability for the league?
“No,” Jones said. “I’m very into and familiar with our investigation at the league level. Completely satisfied that we’ve gone into that completely. And I do know that what he’s doing and what he had begun doing before we’d finished the investigation was a recognition of how important the workplace and our workplace conduct is around the NFL. So I’m satisfied with not only what is being done there but satisfied with what we’re doing about it in the NFL.”
That’s fine, and certainly not unexpected. The surprising comments came when Jones was asked about the efforts of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee to delve into the WFT situation.
“Certainly in every way does the NFL want to cooperate with anything Congress asks of it there,” Jones said. That’s a comment that members of Congress will undoubtedly type, print, and laminate for its looming push-and-pull with the league over getting the information Congress wants regarding the WFT investigation.
From a broader perspective, Jones didn’t seem to be troubled by the fact that Congress is sticking its nose in the NFL’s business, something that could become commonplace — especially at the intersection of legalized sports betting and the NFL’s struggles with properly officiating its games.
“We go out of our way to ask people to look at the NFL,” Jones said. “Quit looking away, look at the NFL. We want you to enjoy the nuances of the game. As a matter of fact, on a personal basis, the more transparent, the more you’re behind the scenes, the more you’re involved, to me the more you enjoy the game. I think when we ask the country to be as interested in pro football as you are, then you should expect those kinds of questions. And certainly social issues are a huge part of our lives today.”
That’s not just permission but an invitation for scrutiny and oversight. While it remains to be seen whether these words resonate, there are surely plenty of owners and league executives who cringed a little bit at the things Jones said. When one of the most powerful owners in the league invites governmental officials to walk through the front door and start looking around, they’re going to eagerly accept.