Jerry Jones announces he's going after Roger Goodell under oath
The next round in the battle between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will take place Monday.
Jones will be testifying under oath at a hearing before Goodell and other owners in Palm Beach, Florida, as he fights the league’s ruling that Jones must reimburse the NFL more than $2 million in legal fees.
The fees were racked up by the league during the federal court cases and appeals hearings regarding the six-game suspension handed down to Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Jones said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that he was looking forward to testifying, but did not offer any additional comments.
Jerry Jones said Friday looks forward to his day in the commissioners court. He will testify under oath before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Monday, contesting paying reimbursement fees for the Zeke Elliott court case and Goodell contract fight
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 2, 2018
A league rule dating back to 1977 says an owner must reimburse the league for legal fees if he brings litigation against other owners.
Jones is expected to cite the fact the NFL did not require New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to reimburse the league for fees it incurred during the Deflategate case. In that case, the Patriots filed an amicus brief in support of quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal.
Elliott’s lawyers have been asked to come to the hearing on Monday to claim that Jones provided no financial assistance to the running back’s legal team. The NFL Players Association provided legal services for Elliott.
The league’s attempt to recoup the fees is viewed more as an effort to punish Jones for his efforts to block a five-year contract extension for Goodell, which was being negotiated around the same time the Elliott suspension was making its way through the courts.
Jones threatened to sue to block the owners from offering an extension to Goodell, but never actually filed suit.
The league has had a long-standing provision that any owner who takes legal action against fellow owners must pay both sides’ legal expenses.
Some owners wanted the $2 million fine levied against Jones as punishment for what it believed was the Cowboys owner’s “conduct detrimental to the league” for trying to block Goodell’s contract extension.
Jones was warned by the compensation committee, which negotiated the Goodell contract extension, that he was guilty of such conduct.
“With due respect, we urge Mr. Jones to drop his misguided litigation threats and media campaign to undermine the Committee’s mandate,” NFL attorney Brad S. Karp wrote in a letter to Jones. “We urge Mr. Jones to honor the resolution that he and his fellow owners adopted and allow the Committee to continue its work, in compliance with the May 2017 Resolution and the League Constitution. And we urge Mr. Jones to support the Committee’s deliberations, not attempt to sabotage them.”
Jones said all along that his opposition to Goodell’s contract extension was not related to Elliott’s suspension.
But an ESPN report in November alleged that after learning of Elliott’s suspension in August, Jones called Goodell and threatened to take action against him.
“I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” he told reportedly told Goodell over the phone in August. “If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard (after Deflategate), Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”
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