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EVERYTHING'S COMING UP SILVER & BLUE IN THE NFL
Published September 11, 1995
With the signing of Deion Sanders, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones continued to hold the off-the-field spotlight as the NFL entered Week 2. However, one of the NFL's newer owners, the Patriots' Robert Kraft, spoke out against Jones' deals with Nike and Pepsi and his attacks on NFL Properties. Kraft: "We're the best sports entertainment property in America. Those who are privileged to be a part of it should work hard to make it work. When we run our club it's important that we maximize our opportunities, but not at the expense of the whole league. I always try to stay within the boundaries. Sometimes I'll benefit and sometimes I won't" (Timothy Smith, N.Y. TIMES, 9/10). HE'S EVERYWHERE: BUSINESS WEEK profiles Jones as a "Headliner" under, "A Cowboy the NFL Can't Lasso" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/18 issue). Rob Prazmark, President of 21 Marketing, which has been advising the Cowboys: "The difference in opinion is a simple American business problem. [NFL Properties is] interested in enhancing the NFL corporate brand. Jerry and the other clubs are interested in selling more product." NFL Properties President Sara Levinson, in a statement: "National sponsors tell us the ability of the clubs to market themselves as a group is the primary reason the NFL is the most valuable and attractive property in sports" (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE ONLINE, 9/11). Mike Ditka, on the Deion signing: "Mr. Jerry Jones, everything in life is cyclical. What goes around comes around. Watch out!" ("NFL On NBC," 9/10). Mike Lupica: "This Nike-Cowboys deal may be one of the great money laundering scams in all of professional sports" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 9/10). In L.A., columnist Mike Downey calls Jones "an old Arkansas Razorback who keeps acting like a pig" (L.A. TIMES, 9/10). In Boston, Will McDonough writes the Jones-Sanders-Pepsi-Nike deal "could, very easily, shake the foundation of the league" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10). But in Miami, Greg Cote writes, "Jones simply forged a different way to do what the communal system discourages: Reap justly due benefit from the Cowboys' stature and good name. Let the rest of the league whine" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/8). And USA TODAY's Bryan Burwell writes, "[Jones] did not disrupt the NFL's holier-than-holy revenue-sharing pie. He simply baked himself another, equally lucrative one" (USA TODAY, 9/11). NEXT? In Tampa, Pat Yasinskas writes, "If [Jones] gets away with it, the floodgates could open for other owners to follow with exclusive deals and maybe even challenge the league's sharing of television revenues" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/10). On NBC, McDonough, who reported that Jones "is now going to completely pull away as fast as he can from NFL Properties" adds, "Look for Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders to be the next to step away from NFL Properties and be the next to market themselves" ("NFL On NBC," 9/10). Dolphins VP Eddie Jones tells the MIAMI HERALD that "he wants to hear more about [the Jones-Nike deal], which could mean he's looking for wrongdoing, or for ways to apply the business acumen to his own club" (Greg Cote, MIAMI HERALD, 9/8). WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG, BAD SWOOSH? The NFL has not decided on a course of action against Jones, according to Paul Domowitch of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Although any solution is unlikely to include a licensing deal with Nike. According to one exec from a NFL-licensed apparel company, the NFL is "scared" of Nike. The exec: "They feel Nike is too big. Everything they've gotten involved in they've taken over. And the NFL is leery of that." Sources say Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL President Neil Austrian have discussed the possibility of taking away Properties revenue or draft picks from the Cowboys (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/8). The Nike symbol was spotted throughout Texas Stadium Sunday: on a building near the parking lot, above ticket windows, and on stairwells, uniforms of stadium personnel and the game program. A mural on a pillar read, "Just Do It" (Mark Blaudschun, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/11). MEDIA MAN: Jones, during halftime of last night's TNT game: "I want every team to feel like they can go out and get the revenues and then they feel better about doing some of the things like we did with Deion" (TNT, 9/10).