Cowboys owner and NFL shadow commissioner Jerry Jones isn’t happy that a federal appeals court vacated Ezekiel Elliott’s injunction, thus clearing the way for the running back’s six-game suspension. Jones’s mood is to be expected, but—surprise!—he also isn’t happy about the extrajudicial process that led the league to suspend Elliott in the first place. Never mind that owners like Jones are responsible for the existence of that process.
In an interview this morning with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones decried what he described as the unfairness of the NFL’s disciplinary system. That system vests commissioner Roger Goodell with unchecked authority and was expanded three years ago to grant the league broad investigatory powers. Its reach also extends beyond the confines of the U.S. criminal justice system.
As Jones put it:
“You do see unfairness. Even with our system. It’s the best system in the world but it has its flaws. And you see that. One of the main reasons this country is here is because you’re supposed to by precedent and law, you’re supposed to have your day before your accuser. This process that we have, which is not like getting arrested, but this process in the NFL has the same equivalent when you are suspended even though it’s done away from the law … it looks like you’ve done something. And that to me is incumbent upon the NFL to basically follow some more fair procedures if it’s going to look like you did something whether you did or not. The law does provide us the outline and precedent with how to do it … our system in the NFL does not.”
“There’s no question that the commissioner has the authority to make these suspensions. The question was ultimately going to be … Does he have to follow the practice (in) a fair way? And, so, Zeke, his team and the Cowboys do not think it was done in a fair way.”
Remember: Jones was fine with this process when Tom Brady was in the league’s crosshairs. Now that the system is chewing up one of Jones’s own star players? Totally unfair. Who could possibly have seen that coming?