Dallas Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones has picked a really public battle with the NFL over the pending extension of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract.
He is questioned Goodell’s management and threatened to sue the league if Goodell will get a brand new deal. A gaggle of homeowners warned him this week to knock it off. In a rare letter, they accused him of “damaging the league” and behaving in a manner “detrimental to the league’s greatest pursuits.”
That language is sort of equivalent to a provision of the NFL bylaws that outline when the league can take away an proprietor’s staff.
However Jodi Balsam, a former NFL lawyer who was liable for the league structure and bylaws from 1994 to 2007, says it is unlikely the opposite house owners would degree such extreme punishment on Jones.
The explanation, she says, is that house owners concern their very own flip within the barrel.
“Jones has quite a lot of pals within the league, and it is unlikely they’d conform to punish one in every of their very own as a result of what comes round goes round,” Balsam, now an affiliate professor at Brooklyn Legislation College, tells CNNMoney.
The NFL government committee, made up of the house owners of all 32 groups, can oust a fellow proprietor. But it surely takes a three-quarters vote. And Jones is highly effective, regardless of his occasional aptitude for public controversy.
In addition to successful three Tremendous Bowls and working essentially the most invaluable staff in America’s most worthwhile sport, he helped Las Vegas and Los Angeles land NFL groups. And he was instrumental to securing the league’s profitable TV rights deal.
Jones is upset that his star working again, Ezekiel Elliott, was suspended six video games earlier this season for home violence allegations. He additionally has taken a a lot harsher stance than Goodell on gamers who kneel throughout the Nationwide Anthem to protest racial injustice. At one level Jones mentioned he needed to bench gamers for kneeling.
To dam Goodell’s path to a brand new contract, Jones has argued that each proprietor ought to get to overview the phrases of any deal. However in Might, all 32 house owners voted to present that energy to a committee of six house owners. (Jones was an honorary, non-voting member till he threatened to sue and was eliminated.)
In response to the specter of a lawsuit, the lawyer representing that committee despatched a letter to Jones’ lawyer warning Jones to cease sabotaging the negotiations.
Balsam says an NFL proprietor has by no means been eliminated for misbehavior.
Within the NBA, Clippers proprietor Donald Sterling was pushed out of the league in 2014, however that was for racist feedback that turned him right into a nationwide outcast. Sterling was banned from his personal staff and compelled to promote.
Balsam says when NFL house owners have misplaced groups, it is often been for monetary causes.
“The league often works this stuff out behind the scenes,” she mentioned. “However house owners have quietly departed because of persuasive efforts by fellow house owners and the league workplace after they’re incapable of working the staff.”
What’s extra seemingly is that Jones could be fined, Balsam says.
The bylaws enable both the chief committee or the commissioner to wonderful an proprietor as much as $500,000 for every violation.
Balsam says it is extremely uncommon for the NFL to wonderful house owners for his or her feedback and actions. It is totally different from different leagues in that manner. For instance, the NBA has fined Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban a number of occasions for his habits.
However, whereas it could be uncommon to incur a wonderful, Jones is extra than simply badmouthing Goodell. He is threatening to sue the league — his fellow house owners.
If he’s punished, Balsam says it will be simpler for the committee to do it as a result of Goodell has a private tie to the matter. His job is at stake.
Goodell’s contract nonetheless has greater than a yr and a half to run. However the calendar could possibly be pressuring the league to behave now to resume his deal.
Not solely are main network TV deals ending in 2021 and 2022, however the league’s collective bargaining settlement with gamers ends after the 2020 season. If the NFL introduced in a brand new commissioner, that particular person would solely have a yr or so to stand up to hurry.
Balsam says she does not perceive Jones’ endgame. She says one of the best time to interchange a commissioner is after she or he negotiates a profitable CBA — not proper earlier than. And Goodell is a really expert negotiator, she says: The previous two offers he did had been favorable for house owners.
Goodell labored within the league for 24 years earlier than being named commissioner. In that point he dealt with soccer and enterprise operations and performed a key function within the league’s enlargement.
When he took over as commissioner he helped dealer a 10-year CBA and nine-year offers with CBS, NBC and Fox.
He additionally helped develop the league’s income to over $12 billion in 2014 and has set a aim of $25 billion by 2027.
The NFL, Jones’ lawyer and the Dallas Cowboys didn’t reply to requests for remark.
CNNMoney (New York) First revealed November 19, 2017: 12:32 PM ET
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