With the support of many N.F.L. owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to escalate his public feud with Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and long one of the most influential people in the league, by fining him millions of dollars for his efforts to derail negotiations to renew Goodell’s contract and for his outspoken defense of a star player who was suspended, according to five league officials with direct knowledge of the situation. The punishment will be issued in the coming weeks by Goodell, who will declare that Jones’s actions were detrimental to the league, which rarely shows such acute signs of acrimony among owners and the commissioner’s office. Goodell has been reluctant to be seen as exacting retribution for the way Jones tried to sabotage his contract talks, but he was urged to bring the penalties by several owners who believed that Jones had crossed an unspoken boundary by threatening his colleagues. In November, Jones hired the high-profile lawyer David Boies and said he was prepared to sue the six owners on the league’s compensation committee, which had been working for months on extending Goodell’s contract. Jones also lobbied loudly for running back Ezekiel Elliott not to be penalized, and reportedly tried to influence league officials deciding his case. Elliott had been suspended by the league for six games before the season after the N.F.L. investigated domestic-assault allegations. Jones will be ordered to pay the legal fees that the committee incurred defending itself, as well as the legal expenses the N.F.L. spent defending its decision to suspend Elliott. A spokesman for the Cowboys said the team was unaware of the impending penalties and did not immediately have a comment. A spokesman for the N.F.L. said the league had no comment. The genesis of the issue dates back about a year. In the months before Elliott, the Cowboys’ star running back, was suspended in August, Jones said publicly that his player did not deserve to be penalized after a former girlfriend accused him of domestic violence in an incident that predated his entry into the N.F.L. Jones also tried to influence one of the league’s top investigators, according to ESPN. Elliott was not arrested or charged by prosecutors, but the N.F.L. used statements by a former girlfriend of Elliott’s, along with photos of injuries he was accused of inflicting upon her, to justify the suspension. After Elliott was suspended, Jones continued to support him. Elliott took his case to federal court, where his appeals were ultimately denied.
Roger Goodell Expected to Fine Jerry Millions of Dollars
New York Times | Feb 26