Jerry Jones is on the warpath and Roger Goodell is his target.
If you thought the NFL threatening him was going to slow him down, you were 100% wrong.
It was Aug. 9, inside Roger Goodell’s sixth-floor office at the NFL’s Park Avenue headquarters in New York City — down the hall, past the executives’ offices and his assistant’s desk, and through a large, thick wooden door that is both imposing and usually left open to serve as a welcome. Goodell huddled over a speakerphone with general counsel Jeff Pash. On the other end was Jerry Jones. Adhering to the protocol of giving owners a 48-hour heads-up before a major disciplinary issue involving their team is announced, Goodell and Pash informed Jones that after a 13-month domestic violence inquiry, the Dallas Cowboys’ star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, would face punishment — a six-game suspension.
The line went quiet. Seconds passed. Goodell’s decision was an unconscionable violation of trust, Jones later told associates, because he believed that the commissioner had assured him this past spring that there would be no suspension. Jones saw in Elliott a genuine opportunity, a player so good that he had made Jones believe that this year he just might win a Super Bowl for the first time since 1996. His anger was palpable. Finally, according to sources with direct knowledge of the call, Jones broke the silence. He aimed his words not only at Goodell’s decision but also at his role as judge, jury and executioner in the case.
“I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said. Then he mentioned Deflategate. “If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”
No wonder Goodell looks like he just saw his lady in bed with another man every time he is seen on TV these days.
Essentially it appears the NFL & Goodell used Ezekiel Elliott as an example when it is likely he didn’t do anything wrong and that is where all this anger from Jones is coming from.
When Goodell returned to New York from the Biltmore, he told his deputies that he wanted the Elliott case closed by June to avoid having yet another disciplinary case against one of the NFL’s stars hanging over the start of the season. Elliott’s accuser and ex-girlfriend was interviewed by Kia Roberts, the NFL’s newly hired director of investigations, a total of six times — twice in person and four more times on the phone. By the spring, Roberts had concluded that the accuser was not a credible witness, an opinion she conveyed to Friel.
In May, Jones asked Goodell by phone for a status update on the Elliott investigation. Jones later told several people that he came away from their conversation with an assurance that there would be no suspension for Elliott and that Goodell felt the running back should enter counseling and perhaps issue a statement showing contrition for his behavior. Jones replied that Elliott wouldn’t be contrite about domestic violence because he hadn’t committed it. “[Jones] told me, ‘Roger told me there was nothing to worry about — the evidence just isn’t there,'” says a high-level source briefed on the call. “Jerry … was damn sure that Zeke was free and clear.”
This is far from over.