By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Jerry Jones talked a big game in letting the world know that he was very, very upset. But ultimately, Jones is taking the same path as the owner whom he criticized quite sharply over the summer.
Jones is giving up the fight.
The Cowboys owner is not disappearing into the background entirely, no. But with regard to his threat of litigation against the NFL, Jones is backing down, according to Jarrett Bell of The USA Today.
In the wake of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and amid the ongoing protests being held during the national anthem, Jones’ frustration with the league grew to a boiling point in recent months. Jones hired attorney David Boiles and threatened to sue the league in an effort to stand in the way of Roger Goodell receiving a lucrative contract extension.
That threat is now over.
Jones’ fellow owners threatened to punish him if he followed through, for what they deemed conduct detrimental to the league. And perhaps sensing that this was going to be a losing battle, and perhaps realizing that Goodell’s contract extension has basically been a done deal for months, and perhaps being spooked by an embarrassing video from 2013 that just so happened to leak last week, Jones has decided to stand down.
According to Jones, the fire and brimstone he displayed in recent months had nothing to do with his own Cowboys and everything to do with what is fair and right.
“This is not about replacing Roger,” Jones told Bell. “It’s a misnomer to say it’s payback for Ezekiel Elliott. It is about the accountability of the commissioner to all of the ownership.”
Jones may be saying that, but as always, actions speak louder than words. And the fact is that Jones never once expressed any disappointment or frustration with the job Goodell was doing until his star running back faced a suspension. In 2015, Jones even said in plain English, “I know one of [Goodell’s] best qualities is fairness.”
So, no, Jones wasn’t so much interested in accountability for Goodell until he believes it was his team getting worked over by an inconsistent and unpredictable executive office. And like several owners before him have learned, Jones discovered that an owner who finds himself under the thumb of Roger Goodell typically struggles to find any allies.
In the end, despite putting forth a more forceful public fight, Jones’ dispute with the league is ending in near-identical fashion to the clash between Robert Kraft and Goodell from two years ago. In that situation, we know what Jones thought of Kraft. It would be compelling to hear an honest assessment from Jones on his own current matter.
For now, Jones will continue to try to influence the owners’ decision with regard to Goodell’s contract extension. Publicly, he remains confident. Privately, he’s likely realizing — with great acerbity — that he’s not as influential as he hoped.