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Jones Says He Sees No Conflict Of Interest In Blandino "Networking" With Team Officials
Published August 11, 2014
BLANDINO'S STORY: THE MMQB's Peter King reports Blandino's story of events is that he met Stephen Jones for dinner in L.A., after which Jones "suggested they get a drink." Blandino accepted and they "went to a bar and had a drink." Blandino then "parted ways with Jones and others in his party." TMZ got some "shots of several people, including women, through the windows of the Cowboys bus, but Blandino was not among the group at that time." NFL league officials on Saturday indicated that they had received "no complaints about Blandino’s behavior." King writes he is "fine with Blandino dining (and wining, to some degree) with key team officials; it’s part of the job." King: "But I’d draw the line at late-night beering or club-hopping. ... If I’m Roger Goodell, I’m telling Blandino: Dinner fine, revelry beyond that not so fine" (MMQB.SI.com, 8/11). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said the NFL "doesn't care" about the Blandino situation because he "goes to every city, gets on a party bus in every city." ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said, "In the grand scheme, I think it's nothing. I don't think any team or particular people are going to benefit from it. In terms of perception, I think it's absolutely something." Gutierrez said there are "certain relationships where you want to foster … relationships." However, in "this particular one, where it's officials and teams, nothing can be gained by making it that personal" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/8).
GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY: In Dallas, David Moore noted Stephen Jones and Blandino are "respected throughout the league" and no one has "come close to suggesting the professional ethics of either should be called into question." But the "appearance of impropriety doesn’t require impropriety to take place." This "doesn’t play well in the public arena, and the Cowboys’ competitors are only too happy to snipe from the weeds and raise doubts" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/9). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "There are a lot of traits you want in your vice president of officiating, but probably the No. 1 trait is judgment. You want good judgment for this person. This shows horrific judgment. ... It shows poor judgment about his perception around the league. The league has got to do something about this" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/8). CBS Sports Network's Jim Rome: “The one guy who's supposed to be completely unbiased is partying with the Cowboys so brazenly he might as well been rocking a Tony Romo jersey and had a Cowboys cheerleader on either arm. I can't wait to see him doing body shots in Dan Snyder's pool and on Jeffrey Lurie's jet” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 8/8).