Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and members of the league’s finance committee this week. Photo: David Goldman/Associated Press
The NFL and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have agreed that Jones will pay more than $2 million to cover the league’s costs from a series of disputes the two parties have been involved in during the past year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell assessed the penalty against Jones last week, a move to collect legal fees the league had incurred in two disputes: a lawsuit over the suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and litigation Jones had threatened in a bid to contest a new contract for Goodell.
Jones appealed the penalty and met with Goodell and members of the league’s finance committee this week in Florida, where owners were gathered for committee meetings.
The league said Wednesday that the parties had mutually agreed to resolve the matter, ending a string of conflicts between one of the NFL’s most historically powerful owners and much of the rest of the league, which had battled with Jones on a number of fronts.
A spokesman for Jones and the Cowboys declined to comment.
The basis for the payment traces to a little-used resolution in the league constitution that says owners or teams may be obligated to repay the NFL for legal fees on a case that the club or owner loses. But the issue wasn’t so straightforward: Jones wasn’t officially a party to the Elliott lawsuit, and he never actually sued the league over Goodell’s contract.
These issues devolved last season into a rare display of in-fighting among NFL owners, with Jones as the primary catalyst of the rancor. Owners believed Jones was lashing out against Goodell for suspending Elliott, people familiar with the matter said at the time, setting off a string of letters between those tasked with executing Goodell’s extension and Jones, who denied he was out for revenge over losing his star running back for six games. Privately, these owners discussed harsher punishments for Jones, including the possibility of removing him from the league.
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