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).