Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is making an aggressive push to oust NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to a lengthy report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines published Friday.
In it, Jones is quoted as telling the commissioner, “I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” according to the report. ESPN reported that Jones was enraged after Goodell suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott six games for a violation of the personal conduct policy.
In his threat, Jones referenced Deflategate, the New England Patriots and their owner, Robert Kraft.
“If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a (expletive) compared to what I’m going to do,” Jones said.
The ESPN report detailed numerous issues between Jones and Goodell, like the Elliott discipline, but also including Goodell’s general leadership of the NFL, from hires Goodell has made, to media policies.
Jones has threatened to sue the NFL and fellow owners to stop negotiations on a contract extension for Goodell. Owners voted 32-0 in May to allow the compensation committee to negotiate a new deal for Goodell, but Jones -- in the wake of Elliott’s suspension and a drama-filled start to the 2017 season because of player protests and sagging television ratings -- is trying to thwart that effort.
The New York Times reported this week that the six owners on the compensation committee, led by Falcons owner Arthur Blank, sent Jones a cease-and-desist notice.
ESPN reported that Jones has the support of several owners, but other owners are pushing back against the tremendous power that Jones himself has garnered and don’t want Jones to be able to handpick Goodell’s successor should Goodell leave.
ESPN quoted an unnamed senior league executive about the power struggle.
“Jerry’s message to Roger was, ‘I run this league. You better get with it,’” the executive told ESPN. “This is about power and control, not the contract. That’s all white noise.”