SBD/November 13, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Owners Discussing Goodell's Extension Today As Feud With Jerry Jones Continues

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Goodell's contract is 80-90% completed, with only a few minor details yet to be finished
The NFL Compensation Committee is holding a call today to go over Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract extension, but there is growing concern among some owners about the terms and "what it will take on in the future," according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The call is the first since Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "asked for more access to these issues." ESPN's Chris Mortensen noted Jones "wants all the other owners to see the details with transparency in this negotiation." The last written proposal Goodell and his reps presented was a request for $50M in salary per year, "plus lifetime use of a private jet and lifetime health insurance for him and his family" ("Sunday NFL Countdown," ESPN, 11/12). NFL Exec VP/Communications Joe Lockhart "denied that Goodell had submitted such a written counterproposal." He added that there have been "several meetings or conference calls among the compensation committee" before today's scheduled call. One owner noted there are "several owners in this league who don't make" $40M a year. The owner said, "That number for Roger just seems too much. It's offensive. It's unseemly" (ESPN.com, 11/12).

MOVING FORWARD
: In N.Y., Ken Belson reported the compensation committee is "pushing to complete the terms in a matter of weeks to end the public battle with Jones." Some owners on the committee "want the extension completed in a couple of weeks, while some say it can wait until the next owners’ meeting in mid-December." Sources said that Goodell's contract is 80-90% completed, with "only a handful of minor details yet to be finished." Goodell is currently paid around $30M a year, including a "set of rolling bonuses that in effect make most of his compensation guaranteed" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/11). CBSSPORTS.com's Jason La Canfora reported Goodell is "being urged by many close to him to sign the contract and put the matter behind him." Some in the NFL office "anticipate the contract matter is fully resolved before Thanksgiving and note that as much as Jones has railed against it in recent weeks, he has not actually derailed or impacted the process" (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/12).

JERRY SPEAKS: Jones on Friday on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM said, "This extension of Roger should go and be reviewed and approved by all the owners, not just a few of the owners. The committee that basically negotiates the salary with our commissioner is taking the view, especially the chairman, that they, in a limited group, can complete this agreement. I disagree. This is simply about making sure that all clubs have input into not only the commissioner, his extension, but also in future years, his decisions. We all see how impactful a commissioner’s decision can be in many areas. We’ve given him a lot of power." He added, "To a large degree, it’s not about Roger Goodell. It’s about the power of the commissioner as it relates to ownership" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/11). Jones: "I've been dealing with this commissioner for almost 28 years, as an employee of the NFL." He said his opposition to Goodell's extension and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's suspension are "separate issues" and there is no link (ESPN.com, 11/10). Jones: "The point is we should let all the owners decide" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/13).

Jones wants all NFL owners to see the details of Goodell's contract for transparency
BATTLE WAGES ON
: THE MMQB's Peter King reports at the "heart of the dispute between Jones and the league is guaranteed money." A source said that there is "little question" that Jones "wants to overthrow" the commissioner. However, Jones "doesn’t have many partners -- at least now -- in trying to overthrow the current way of doing business" (SI.com, 11/12). King writes Jones' opposition to Goodell's extension is because he "thinks Goodell hasn't performed like a great commissioner should." Jones also "thinks the fix is in" on Goodell's proposed deal. Jones also "does not want to be commissioner." ESPN's Bill Polian’s name has been "thrown around," and he is a "Jones favorite." Still, King writes he believes Goodell "will re-sign" through '24 (SI.com, 11/13). CBSSPORTS.com's La Canfora cited sources as saying that Jones' "recent outbursts in public and in private, and his attacks" on Goodell, are "diminishing his respect and influence among other owners." Jones has "angered fellow owners and increasingly isolated" himself (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/12). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote owners have a "nuclear option of their own," as they could "attempt to trigger forfeiture" of the Cowboys from Jones. A source cited Article VIII of the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws, which 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.” The NFL Executive Committee has the power to compel "(c)ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 11/12).

WILL JONES LET UP? Schefter said, "If the Zeke Elliott situation had been handled differently, if Jerry was of the mind that this wasn't going to happen, if he didn't feel betrayed by the league office -- which is the way I think he feels in this particular case -- then maybe he'd have some different feelings for Roger Goodell. But I think it's hard for Jerry to fathom how he's going to be paying this man the type of money that he has made in the past, and he doesn't want to be a part of that, and he's doing what he can right now to fight that, to impede that" (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/11). ESPN The Magazine's Don Van Natta Jr. said Jones is "very concerned about the way the league in general and in particular" how Goodell has handled the anthem controversy. Jones is "furious that the league is in this business, this investigative business since the Ray Rice case, and feels that they shouldn't be, and pins a lot of that blame" on Goodell. Van Natta: "It's going to stay nasty. ... My reporting is that Jerry is furious about this and is not going to let up" (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/11). ESPN’s Mike Golic said, "Don't sell Jerry Jones short. Jerry Jones has won some battles. ... There's a reason his team is valued at what it is." He said Jones "knows business but I don't think he's going to win this" (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 11/13).

ANGRY CHAIR: In DC, Mark Maske reports there are some in and around the league who "believe that there is an element of showmanship to what Jones is doing." Jones could be "communicating to Cowboys fans that he’s really angry about Elliott and he’s not just sitting around doing nothing." A source said, "Do you think Jerry would have gotten the draft if there was really a problem? The idea that things are bad with Jerry and Roger is exaggerated, even more exaggerated than Robert (Kraft) and Roger" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/13). In N.Y., Mark Sanchez writes under the header, "Goodell's Absurd Contract Demands Leak, And This Is Getting Ugly" (N.Y. POST, 11/13). In Boston, Ben Volin wrote Goodell is the "face of the NFL, but Jones, increasingly, runs the league." Volin: "Goodell should be worried. Jones is a man who knows what he wants, and is determined to get his way" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/12). Fox' Troy Aikman said Jones' "tune" on Goodell's contract has "certainly changed." Aikman: "I’m not sure it’s a good thing, certainly not good for our game and just another distraction that’s taken away from the great play that we see every Sunday” (“Cowboys-Falcons,” Fox, 11/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Charles Robinson wrote the "universal opinion" is that Jones "doesn’t like Goodell’s relationship to the ownership group." A source said of Jones, "There were owners who counseled him who aren’t sitting next to him in meetings anymore. Now he’s the counselor in the room. ... Most of Jerry's mentors are gone." Sources pointed to late Steelers Owner Dan Rooney as an owner Jones "might be missing most." Sources added that Jones believes Goodell has "done a poor job of identifying big problems before they happen, or definitively limiting damage in the wake of problems after they occur" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/12).

BEHIND THE SCENES: In DC, Babb & Maske wrote the "revolt exposes rare fissures within the NFL as it continues to be buffeted by controversies that threaten what was once considered an unassailable business model." The owners see Goodell's job as "making money for NFL owners and for making problems go away." With "festering off-field problems threatening owners’ profits, Goodell’s effectiveness as commissioner and job security seem to be as tenuous as they have ever been." A source said that Jones is "out of control" Another source added, "The whole room is kind of sick of listening to him. He talks more than he’s ever talked. I don’t know what he’s doing right now” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/11). CBS Sports' La Canfora said Jones has "maybe three owners tops in his corner. The vast majority want to move forward” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 11/12). Triple-A PCL Omaha Storm Chasers Owner Gary Green tweeted, "We have in 3 of the 4 major sports in this country such talented commissioners - Silver, Bettman, Manfred - whose leagues are all thriving - that you can’t help but agree with the very unlikeable Jerry Jones that Goodell must go as NFL continues its campaign of unpopularity" (TWITTER.com, 11/11).
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