On Monday, there was a report that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was set to fine Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones for Jones fighting Goodell’s contract extension last year, though it was later clarified by the league-owned media outlet that it wasn’t so much a fine as Goodell wanting to recoup $2 million legal fees from Jones.
Regardless of how you want to term the money, Jones isn’t paying it without a fight. Quelle surprise.
NFL.com’s Judy Battista reported Tuesday from Indianapolis, where the annual scouting combine is getting underway, that Jones “is expected to contest paying legal fees owners want him to pay.”
And here’s the kicker: according to Battista, if Jones proceeds, his hearing would be before Goodell.
One of the big points of contention between the NFL and NFL players in the next collective bargaining agreement will likely be Article 46, which allows Goodell to serve as both punisher and appeals judge in situations like the personal-conduct policy; it’s the same rule that saw Goodell impose a six-game suspension on Cowboys’ star running back Ezekiel Elliott last year in connection to accusations of domestic violence (Elliott was not charged by authorities in Ohio), and Goodell hold up the suspension when Elliott had to go to him to appeal his case.
That led to Elliott taking the situation to U.S. court, and ultimately serving his suspension. It also led to Jones allegedly deciding to do whatever he could to make Goodell’s life difficult. Hence Jones slowing the process to get Goodell a new contract, which he did succeed in doing – Goodell’s extension was delayed by months, though it was finalized in December – and now his refusal to repay legal fees incurred during that stretch of time.
But players aren’t the only ones who have to live with Goodell’s decisions, something you’d think league owners would have installed guidelines to avoid. Jones, along with other owners, pays Goodell’s salary, and at the end of the day, Goodell works for Jones and the other owners, but as commissioner he still serves as judge and jury in certain situations? Interesting.
At any rate, it seems like we haven’t heard the end of this latest situation between Jones and Goodell.