Jerry Jones and the other owners met back on October 17th, at a meeting where some owners also met with players to try to come up with a solution to protests by NFL players. Don Van Natta, Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN have a story today on the machinations behind those meetings.
That piece will no doubt lead to further discussions, and may be a barrier to another meeting between players and owners currently set for October 31st. Jones–who publicly came out as requiring his players to stand for the national anthem–was excluded from the initial meeting between some owners and players. He was at the follow-up where the entire ownership was summarized.
At that owners’ meeting, Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner and a Trump campaign contributor, said “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL, stood up and said he was offended by that comment. McNair later privately apologized to Vincent, but Jones was confrontational with Vincent, “finally reminding the room that rather than league office vice presidents, it was he and fellow owners who had helped build the NFL’s $15 billion-a-year business, and they would ultimately decide what to do.”
And then, at the end of the meeting, with Roger Goodell gone, Jerry Jones turned back to Goodell’s contract in the midst of all this discussion. It had already been reported that Jones–who is unhappy with his starting running back involved in a possible suspensions–was seeking to involve himself in Goodell’s next contract.
Goodell left the meeting room to be ushered to a news conference. The final topic of a long morning was the most salient one: the commissioner’s next contract. Jones is not technically on the six-person committee that determines Goodell’s compensation, but he has willed himself onto it. And so, before everyone could leave, he spoke for 20 minutes, delving into all of the league’s problems that everyone knew by heart. He wanted Goodell’s contract to be more incentive-based than it is. “This is the most one-sided contract ever,” he said. This speech, like the one earlier in the day by him, was not vintage Jones: His usual annoying but endearing Jerryisms were replaced by a palpable urgency; it seemed to a few owners as if only Jones could see that an opportunity to regain control of the league was slipping away.
The most one-sided contract ever? Gonna guess Jones has plenty of experience there. Next week could be very interesting as players see the comments from some owners behind the scenes, and as Jones continues to try to run things behind the scenes.