NEW YORK — The Associated Press has obtained a letter sent by the NFL to Jerry Jones’ attorney accusing the Dallas Cowboys owner of “conduct detrimental to the league’s best interests” over his objection to a contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell.
The letter, which accuses Jones of sabotaging the negotiations, was sent to David Boies on Wednesday. Jones hired Boies and threatened to sue the NFL if Goodell’s contract extension was approved by the compensation committee, made up of six owners. All 32 owners voted unanimously in May to let the committee finalize a deal with Goodell.
The letter, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was written by outside counsel for the compensation committee and given to the AP by a person who requested anonymity because it was not intended to be made public.
It’s the latest escalation of a feud between the NFL and one of its most powerful owners. Jones has denied that his objections to the extension are tied to Goodell’s decision to suspend star running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games over alleged domestic violence.
On Wednesday, Elliott withdrew his appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A hearing had been scheduled for Dec. 1 for a potential preliminary injunction, a last-ditch effort to fend off a full six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Elliott will be able to rejoin the Cowboys for their Dec. 24 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Meanwhile, any reported discussions that Jones could be ousted or removed as Cowboys owner for his conduct has been ridiculed by Jones but also denied by a handful of owners or high-ranking team executives contacted by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
One prominent owner, who wished to remain anonymous, replied by text: “I have zero awareness of any such conversations,” but added “the league has options to consider conduct detrimental to the league built into the league constitution.”
Goodell has the authority to administer those penalties under the league constitution in Article VIII, Section 8.13.
Those wide-ranging options available for discipline include fines and suspensions for offending owners, and they do allow for the extreme measure of forcing an owner to sell a franchise. That type of proposed action must also involve the league’s powerful executive committee, which includes Jones among its eight members. It would require three-fourths of the 32 teams to approve such an action.
One anonymous owner who disapproves of Jones’ aggressive public criticism told Mortensen that the Dallas owner “may be ruffling some feathers” but laughed at the suggestion Goodell and other owners would “even dare” to discuss an option of forcing him to sell the franchise.
“I think we have enough messes as it stands now,” the owner said.
Information from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Todd Archer, and The Associated Press was used in this report.