Monday’s edition of Sports Business Daily contained a blurb regarding some predictable and obvious comments from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The comments amounted to, for me, a predictable curiosity.
With Wednesday providing a pivot from the aftermath of the wild-card round and the divisional round, I predictably became curious.
This part isn’t surprising. Jones told Jarrett Bell of USA Today in December (the item was published on January 13) that Jones has “yet to see conclusive evidence that would rise to the level of other NFL owners voting to force Snyder to sell his franchise.”
Jones has no reason to rail against Snyder, because Jones (and surely other owners) would prefer not to set a precedent that could then be used against them. That’s one of the potential reasons why the NFL brushed the Beth Wilkinson investigation under the rug in 2021, concealing any “conclusive proof” she may have found — and glossing over the question of whether she believed based on her investigation (including her interview with Snyder and her conclusions as to whether he was or wasn’t being truthful) that he should be forced to sell.
Instead of making it about him, Jones made it about the impact that running Snyder off would have on luring other multi-billionaires to buy teams.
“My main thing about Washington is that I don’t want to do damage to the ability to attract capital,” Jones told Bell. “With sponsors alone, you want people to stand in line to be associated with the team. There are a lot of natural things that will occur on their own if you don’t mess it up.”
So, in other words, look the other way regarding owner misconduct, because you don’t want potential sponsors or owners to look for other places to spend their money.
Through it all, Jones sounds like someone who realizes that there’s a limit to everything, including the NFL’s willingness to tolerate Snyder’s alleged and/or actual antics.
“He’s got the perfect storm,” Jones said of Snyder. “If he decided to move on, who could possibly blame him? Or [his wife, Tanya]? On top of that, he’s not the most beloved guy around, which I guess I might identify with a bit, too.”
Jones also realizes that supporting Snyder comes with a cost.
“Is he worth me taking a sword?” Jones told Bell. “He’s not Al Davis. For me, he’s not.”
For now, the owners are treading lightly, waiting for Snyder to do what he seems to be doing. If he goes away on his own, the owners don’t have to force him out.
More importantly, they don’t have to talk about forcing him out. And Jones realizes those conversations, with so many in the room, will find a way to the prying eyes and ears of the media — especially if someone is secretly records the sessions, as someone did during deliberations regarding the league’s handling of the controversy arising from the national anthem.
“I would say we’ve had to be more formal in our conversations,” Jones told Bell. “We’re not as cavalier as we might have been. Follow me? Don’t know who’s listening. Who’s what? So, we’ve had to be more formal.”
If Snyder doesn’t sell on his own, those formalities inevitably will include a vote to force him to do it. For now, the owners (along with everyone else) are simply waiting to see whether Snyder will actually do it.