Six NFL Owners, who are the members of the compensation committee, have issued a warning to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatening to punish him over his efforts to block a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Jones has threatened to sue the league and the owners on the committee who have been working for months on a new contract for Goodell. Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, refused to acknowledge Jones before the game vs the Cowboys on Sunday as the two stood only a few feet from each other. It is customary for NFL owners to greet each other before the game. The six owners on the committee are the owners of the Chiefs, Falcons, Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Texans.
Jones, was a nonvoting member of the committee but was voted out after he threatened to sue the other members. The league could take a range of steps, including fines, docking draft picks and even suspending Jones. Suspending and owner for conduct detrimental to the league is unprecedented in the NFL. It has only happened in MLB and more recently in the NBA with the Donald Sterling debacle of which all sports fans should have some knowledge of by now.
Goodell is reportedly asking for an annual salary of $50 million and lifetime access to a private jet.
Naysayers claim that Jones is seeking revenge for Goodell’s decision to suspend Elliott for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Jones says that that he is trying to make Goodell’s contract talks more transparent, and wants all owners to be able to sign off on the details of Goodell’s new contract, which would begin in 2019. The owners already voted unanimously in May to allow the compensation committee to negotiate the specifics of the deal.
One more interesting nugget in this story is that the other owners do have, and are discussing a “nuclear option” in dealing with Jones. 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(Rodger Goodell who Jones is trying to have fired) 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.
Few if anyone close to the NFL believes this option will ever be exercised seeing as how if it did would cost millions of dollars in litigation and be in the courts for years, but is very interesting nevertheless.