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Volume 24 No. 132

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones this morning said that he "doesn't plan to back down on his insistence that the NFL's compensation committee brings further negotiations" with Commissioner Roger Goodell "back to the rest of the owners for approval," according to Kate Hairopolous of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Jones, appearing on his weekly radio segment on KRLD-FM, said Goodell still has 18 months left on his current contract and "we've got all the time in the world to extend him, and we need to slow this train down." Jones also disputed a N.Y. Times report that several NFL owners had given him a cease-and-desist warning, saying, "I've had not one, not one, inkling of communication from the league office or any owner that would suggest something that laughable and ridiculous, and that's about where that is. If somebody is asserting that then they are not knowledgeable about how things work in the NFL." Jones also said that it is "not true that he has a replacement in mind for Goodell" (, 11/14). In N.Y., Ken Belson in the original report cited sources as saying that several owners gave Jones a cease-and-desist warning, "threatening to punish him over his efforts to block a contract extension" for Goodell. The warning was "issued by the six owners" on the league's compensation committee yesterday "after the group held a conference call." The NFL "could take a range of steps, including fines, docking draft picks and even suspending Jones." Jones also has been "accused of pushing" Papa John’s Founder & CEO John Schnatter to "discredit the commissioner and of leaking false information about the details of Goodell’s contract negotiations" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14). 

TIMING PLAY: Cowboys Exec VP, COO & Dir of Player Personnel Stephen Jones, speaking yesterday on KRLD, said it was "laughable" that the NFL could force his father to sell the team. He added, "We're not against Roger. We just don't know if this is the time to be talking about major contract extensions when the league certainly has several challenges in terms of where we are as a league, whether that's our ratings, whether that's our concerns with our sponsors" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/14).

OVERPLAYING HIS HAND? USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes Jones "badly overplayed his hand with his efforts to upend Goodell’s contract extension as payback" for Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. Rather than "impede Goodell’s contract extension, Jones has all but ensured it’s going to get done" (USA TODAY, 11/14). The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said not since the days of the late Al Davis has there "been an owner who has been at odds with so many people." ESPN's Sarah Spain said Jones' actions are going to "change the power structure in the NFL going forward, even if he sits down and takes this like he should." ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said Jones may be "overstepping his bounds" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/13). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "People are saying, 'Jerry, we know you've made us a lot of money, you've been a great owner (but) shut up. We are tired of you" ("PTI," ESPN, 11/13). NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto said Jones wants Goodell's "head on a spike, period." He added the owners "have come to the realization" that if they let Jones have this one too, then he "runs the league" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 11/13).

The families of debilitated former NFLers "say the league is obstructing their access" to an estimated $1B settlement over concussions by "reflexively rejecting valid claims and bogging down the process with unreasonable demands," according to a front-page piece by Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The families and their lawyers "describe a succession of roadblocks as they try to claim payouts, from as little as a few thousand dollars to potentially several million dollars." Of 1,400 claims "filed so far, 140 have been approved, which legal experts say is startlingly low." The remaining 90% of those claims are in the "process of being evaluated or have been sent back to the players and their lawyers to amend before they can be approved." The 140 approved claims are worth $195M, but the NFL has "written checks" for only $100M. The remainder is "expected to be released after appeals are exhausted." The league has "appealed eight awards that the administrator granted, and 12 players have appealed their awards, calling them too low." Lawyers for the players said that the NFL "installed so many safeguards and trapdoors into the deal" that many players "have been forced to spend months scrounging for paperwork they did not think they had to keep, finding new doctors to confirm established diagnoses and lodging time-consuming appeals." Orran Brown, the court-approved administrator of the settlement, said that he "understood that players and their lawyers might view these additional requirements with suspicion." But he added that they were "part of an effort to prevent fraud, not block real claims." Brown: "It does seem people feel they are being nickeled and dimed on paperwork. But there’s nothing nefarious or conspiratorial in this" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14).

The Dodgers topped MLB by spending $244M in ‘17 player salaries and are one of six teams “expected to pay a luxury tax this year,” according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. The luxury tax payrolls are “based on the average annual values of contracts and earned 2017 bonuses.” While only the Dodgers and Yankees are above the $195M threshold, teams also “must include" about $13M in benefits "based on their 40-man rosters.” The Yankees have now “paid a luxury tax 15 consecutive years.” The Dodgers are “paying a tax for the fifth consecutive year, the Red Sox and Giants are paying for the third consecutive time; and the Cubs and Tigers are two-time offenders.” The luxury tax threshold will rise to $197M for the ‘18 season. The Brewers “had the lowest player payroll last season” at $67.9M, and while the Padres’ payroll was $71.7M, they paid just $39.4M to players on their active roster (USA TODAY, 11/14).

Red Sox

GONE FISHING: In Miami, Barry Jackson examines what the Marlins payroll may “look like for next few years.” A source said that new co-Owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter “told other owners during the application process that their payroll projection” is not only $90M for the ‘18 season, but for ‘19 as well. There is a “planned jump” in ‘20, but the amount will “depend on how much the team can increase revenue.” These new owners “say they have creative ideas to increase revenue.” Sources said that Sherman and Jeter are “eyeballing at least four ways to increase revenue.” They “believe the annual rights of their TV contract will jump dramatically” from $20M per year when the deal with FS Florida expires after ‘20. Sherman and Jeter “believe they will be able to sell naming rights” for Marlins Park. They also “believe attendance will rise” and they will “increase revenue by making a stronger attempt to appeal to the Hispanic market than the past regime did” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/14).'s Grant Wahl cited sources as saying that when MLS owners meet Dec. 14 in N.Y., they will decide on two expansion teams that will "likely come from a group of three cities that includes Sacramento, Nashville and Cincinnati." David Beckham’s Miami expansion team is "viewed separately by the league," and a formal announcement is "set to happen in the coming months" (, 11/13).

FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB: YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole wrote UFC President Dana White is a "gambler, and it’s that personality trait that gives his desire to promote boxing a chance to succeed." White last week said that he was in the process of attaining his boxing promoter’s license. Making an impact in boxing will be the "most difficult challenge of White’s career and will make his feat of turning the UFC from a dying business into a multi-billion-dollar empire look like a cakewalk." But if anyone can "make it work, it’s White." He is "not only smart and resourceful, but Zuffa Boxing will be as well-financed, or perhaps better, than any of the existing boxing promoters" (, 11/10).

LONG WAY TO GO: USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell writes the "mockery" that Seahawks QB Russell Wilson made of the NFL concussion protocol during "TNF" last week "illustrates just how much further the NFL needs to go in managing the concussion issue." Wilson's case, along with one involving Colts QB Jacoby Brissett, are "warning signs reflecting the gray area that exists amid the well-intentioned procedure." They are "also setbacks." Bell: "For all the efforts of the NFL and union to encourage and develop tighter guidelines, increased awareness, better treatment and a new culture, we still get these situations that make you wonder whether there’s enough walk with the talk" (USA TODAY, 11/14). In DC, Deron Snyder writes under the header, "NFL Has To Get Serious About Concussion Protocols" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/14).