Mike Florio or Pro Football Talk, citing a league source with knowledge of the situation, reports that multiple NFL owners already have been discussing the possibility of invoking the procedure to Jerry Jones to forfeit the Cowboys.
This would be NFL owners going with a nuclear option of their own after Jones threatened to sue the NFL over the ongoing contract negotiations with commissioner Roger Goodell.
According to Florio, Article VIII of the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws, Section 8.13 authorizes the Commissioner to determine that an owner “has been or is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.”
This requires the Commissioner to determine that the available sanction (a $500,000 fine) is “not adequate or sufficient” and he can refer the issue to the NFL’s Executive Committee, who has the power to compel “[c]ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated,” with a directive to sell the team.
Florio adds that this is “an extreme outcome” would likely lead to years of litigation, but the topic has been broached after Jones’ recent actions.
A source tells Florio that owners believe Jones actually instigated Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter to disparage the NFL and blame the league’s leadership for declining ratings and the reduction in revenue for Papa Johns.
As of now, Florio says it remains to be seen whether any owners have warned Jones about pursuing a nuclear option. However, the topic has apparently come up.
Earlier in the day, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that Jones is losing credibility and influence with the other NFL owners due to his recent outbursts in public and in private over Goodell.
Jones threatened to sue the Compensation Committee over Goodell’s contract last week, which was considered a foregone conclusion in league circles for months until Jones began leading a crusade against it.
La Canfora says that Jones’ actions have ultimately angered fellow owners and increasingly isolated him.
Interestingly enough, a source tells La Canfora that Jones “at best” three other owners in his corner right now who agree that Goodell should be replaced. However, this is far from the 24 votes it would take to derail Goodell’s extension.
La Canfora points out that the NFL instituted safeguards after late Raiders owner Al Davis had numerous legal battles with the league. Because of this, Jones’ threats to sue the NFL are considered “an empty threat.”
“This is way over the top,” one league source tells La Canfora. “You don’t threaten to sue your business partners because you are pissed off that your running back got suspended. That’s not how business is conducted in the league. Jerry already had only a handful of guys backing him on this (calling for Goodell’s job), and he is isolating himself more and more by doing things this way. This isn’t how you try to get your way in the NFL. It’s not going to work.”
While I’m sure there are plenty of owners who feel that Jones has overstepped in league matters and aren’t happy about his litigation threats, it seems highly unlikely that they would pursue a nuclear option to remove Jones as the owner of the Cowboys.
Jones was just inducted into the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the NFL and he has led the charge with a number of league undertakings such as teams relocating to Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
What’s clear is that NFL owners are now more willing than ever to share details of league business with media outlets.
We’ll have more regarding Jones and the Cowboys as the news is available.