- Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has threatened to sue the NFL and some of his fellow owners in order to stop commissioner Roger Goodell’s upcoming contract extension.
- Jones’ case likely will argue for a higher majority of votes in order to enact the new contract.
- Another possibility is that Jones will highlight how the commissioner’s actions have negatively impacted the league’s finances.
The war between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and other owners throughout the league is only just beginning.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Jones had hired powerful lawyer David Boies and threatened to sue the league and some of its team owners in order to get a vote in whether or not to extend Goodell’s contract past 2018.
While it’s not yet entirely clear what the specific grounds of the suit would be, let alone if Jones will actually go through with his threat, there are a few strategies he and his legal team could employ in the courts to make a case against the commissioner.
As ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham reported, Jones’ first strategy might involve changing the number votes necessary to approve Goodell’s new deal, saying that Jones is “exploring whether a requirement that two-thirds of owners must approve a commissioner’s contract could be increased to three-fourths of owners.”
This might be a difficult change to make in the court system, but it does give us a sense of where Jones thinks the numbers currently stand with Goodell – there might not be 12 owners against him, but Jones feels like he could possibly swing eight votes to ground the negotiations.
The other tact that Jones and his legal team might explore would be to produce a report that tied Goodell and his leadership to negative economic impacts on the league. Such a report could include Goodell’s handling of disciplinary issues, his response to the ongoing protests of police brutality and systemic racism during the national anthem, and falling television ratings and potential sponsorship losses.
There’s still no telling if Jones would have enough of a case to sway the courts, but at the very least he could hold Goodell and other owners’ feet to the fire long enough to make sure he’s heard before the commissioner’s new contract becomes official.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who is leading the NFL’s compensation committee and been described as the “point man” on negotiating Goodell’s extension, had initially invited Jones onto the committee as an ad-hoc, non-voting member, but his status has since been revoked after making his threats. Should he follow through on his promise of legal action, Jones would might get a better chance at making his arguments against Goodell to a larger audience that included owners outside of the Blank-led group.
We won’t know how serious Jones is about his legal threat until a suit is formally filed, but so far he has shown he has no problem escalating the stakes and doesn’t look like he’ll be ending his fight any time soon.