The NFL regular season starts this week and if the action is any wilder on the field as it is off it fans will have much to discuss and cuss.
Jerry Jones usually manages to find his way into numerous news columns, from trades to coaching changes to party animal natter and blather. The stories pop up anytime and from everywhere. The Dallas Cowboys owner has an ego as big as his mega AT&T Stadium so the limelight becomes him.
He makes on-field decisions. He makes off-field decisions. And the media grub on them like diners at the Amarillo Big Texan Steakhouse.
With his money, he can mold the propaganda to mitigate damaging stories. As a CEO, entrepreneur and the Cowboys owner he has built a net worth of $3.1 billion. His first fortune came as an executive vice president of Modern Security Life of Springfield, in Missouri. The insurance company was owned by his father. He was also the founder and owner of Jones Oil and Land Lease, which searched for natural resources of oil and gas, in Arkansas. Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989.
Whatever your thoughts are of him, he’s Big in Big D.
Earlier this month a couple of incidents made their way into media cycles. Now, all is quiet on the Jones front. Media attention on the Joneses is a family affair.
Doug Farrar wrote on Sports Illustrated’s web site: The NFL has always gone to great lengths to make sure that the public perception of its officials is above reproach. NFL brass are very cognizant of public perception.
“And in that regard, the league now has a major, major problem on its hands,” Farrar wrote. “In a video posted on TMZ.com, NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino — or someone that looks a lot like him — is seen departing a party bus which seems to have been commandeered by Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones (son of team owner Jerry Jones). The bus was on the Sunset Strip, with Fox analyst Jay Glazer as a tour guide. One might wonder why Glazer is engaging in close proximity with a team executive, but that’s part of Glazer’s deal — he breaks news based on those connections — but the specter of the guy in charge of the NFL’s officials this close to a key team executive does not look good at all.
“And according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, other execs around the league believe that this is Blandino … are understandably furious.”
A more, shall we say, revealing story surfaced on the Internet a little later. Jones was pictured at a Dallas restaurant with two females in suggestive positions. He acknowledged to reporters that he had known about the photos, which were posted by the sports blog TerezOwens.com He said the photos were taken five years ago, adding that they were a misrepresentation, but he wouldn’t elaborate on what was misrepresented or whether authorities were involved.
Two women and Jones were fully clothed in the photos.
Jones told reporters that he was at a restaurant when the photos were taken, adding that someone posted them on the internet for their own purposes.
Deadspin.com reported that Dallas resident Frank Hoover claimed he received the photos from people who wanted to blackmail Jones. Hoover also released emails to Jones’ attorney, Levi McCathern, asking to meet with Jones.
Since the photos were publicized, Jones had made limited comments and appearances with the team. He was not on the field during pregame of the Cowboys’ preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers and did not make himself available to the media after the game. Jones rarely skips speaking to reporters after games.
At a practice later, Jones went to great lengths to avoid the media, arriving on the field for practice from a back gate closer to where the fans park. After practice, he walked off the field with coach Jason Garrett and signed a few autographs before departing through the training room to an awaiting SUV that took him back to his hotel room.
Jones coughed several times as he spoke, adding that the reason he avoided the media was because he was not feeling well, which drew laughs and a sly smile.
While Jones would not discuss the photos, he did address the TMZ video that showed Blandino getting off the Cowboys’ luxury bus outside a Hollywood nightclub.
An internet report said, according to sources, Blandino was on the bus for only a matter of blocks after he was picked up following dinner and left shortly after entering the club to take a cab back to his hotel.
Jones said he had not heard from the NFL or another team expressing any displeasure or concern about the video.
“I just don’t have a problem with it at all,” he said, “and I don’t deem it inappropriate at all. Part of Blandino’s job during the offseason is to network with the clubs; that’s a good thing. Officiating is doing a good job, and I just don’t have a problem with that. As you know, our bus is an area that we entertain, and that’s what we do. So I just don’t have a problem with that.”
To him, the case is closed.
So, how do you feel about America’s team? What do you think of the team’s owner?
Jones is often vilified by fans who remain bitter at Jones’ unceremonious firing of fan-favorite coach Tom Landry. Some of the fan criticism is due to Jones’ high visibility and involvement as the “face of the team” which is in stark contrast to original owner Clint Murchison Jr.
Some Cowboy fans have expressed their displeasure with Jones and the lack of success in the franchise. This had led to formation of grassroots organizations aimed at displacing Jones. Good luck with that, huh.
As for his praise of officials in the Blandino siutation, well, Jones was fined $25,000 by the NFL for publicly criticizing referee Ed Hochuli after a controversial call in a game between the Chargers and the Denver Broncos in 2008. His comments were made on his radio show, saying Hochuli was one of the most criticized officials in the NFL.
Jones also had had public outcry about his perceived excessive drinking. Oh hell, he’s in the public eye and everything he does becomes newsy. It doesn’t seem to matter because the attention swiftly switches to something else. The press has an attention deficit syndrome when sticking with a certain story about Jones.