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From the Basement: In Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell fight, everyone loses

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The NFL has transcended football, and it has done so in the most pathetic of ways.

I previously wrote about the suspension of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. In that article, I argued that regardless of whether Elliott is guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused, the NFL’s attempts to turn his suspension into a PR stunt while still allowing multiple players convicted of domestic violence to play in the league with little to no consequence was despicable.

The situation has escalated into a grandiose pissing contest between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, with Jones pushing other NFL owners in an attempt to prevent the league from renewing Goodell’s contract. In this Game of Thrones, there is no Jon Snow. So for all football lovers who read this paper, let me give some background on these two men and the atrocities they have wrought on the football world.

Jerry Jones is the epitome of the American Dream. After graduating college, Jones pulled himself up by his bootstraps and borrowed $1 million from Jimmy Hoffa. Jones later got into the oil and gas business, where he made his fortune, before purchasing the Cowboys in 1989. The team has become the world’s most valuable sports franchise, allowing Jones to hold a certain amount of power over his fellow billionaire owners and over Commissioner Goodell.

Courtesy of ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Jerry Jones has held the ownership rights to the Dallas Cowboys since 1989.

Jones controls many things and many people. In fact, many suspect that ‘Papa’ John Schnatter’s recent complaints about the NFL’s handling of the national anthem were orchestrated by Jones, who has been very critical of anthem protests himself and who owns more than 100 Papa John’s franchises. Jones’s reason for doing this would be to have Schnatter, the face of one of the NFL’s largest sponsors, undermine Goodell in order to give Jones more leverage in his attempts to prevent Goodell from receiving a contract extension.

Jones’s many shrewd dealings make it easy to view Roger Goodell, who is requesting a $50 million salary and a lifetime private jet, as the kind and humble hero of this story. Goodell, the son of former U.S. Senator Charles Goodell, became an intern for the NFL in 1982 and has worked within the organization ever since, becoming the commissioner in 2006. Goodell has earned a reputation for cracking down on the personal conduct of players, handing out more suspensions than any other commissioner.

Just a friendly sidenote – Tyreek Hill, who pled guilty to punching his then-pregnant girlfriend in the face and stomach before choking her, is currently a star on the Kansas City Chiefs offense. The NFL never disciplined Hill and, in fact, once used him as the header for its Twitter profile. 

Back to the point about the ever-moral Roger Goodell, fighting for all that’s right and good in the world. Goodell has talked a lot about “protecting the shield,” meaning the safety of NFL players. Goodell, however, appears to only protect the logo of the shield itself, considering convicted players like Tyreek Hill, Josh Brown, Greg Hardy and others have walked away with little to no punishment, while Elliott, who has been cleared of facing any charges in court for more than a year, is being used to set an example due to his high profile status.

Courtesy of Sam Benson Smith/WEBN-TV
Roger Goodell is the NFL league commissioner. He has held this role since 2006.

I chose to write this piece about the kind of men Jones and Goodell are rather than elaborating on the circumstances of the case itself because this case is explained entirely by the kind of men these two are. Two amoral, uncaring men sparring with each other to see who holds more power.

The fight inevitably will mean nothing. Goodell will get his $50 million salary and continue to lead the league to mediocre ratings, while Jones will continue to be the richest man in sports. But it’s a tired fight. Ratings are down for the league, and two old men playing chicken will not draw a large viewing crowd either. This maddening stunt will only further drive down ratings from tired viewers, and revenues will eventually decline as well.

When these two men fight, everyone loses.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Shea is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
From the Basement: In Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell fight, everyone loses