Report: NFL Execs Could Execute ‘Nuclear Option’ against Jerry Jones

November 13, 2017 Updated: November 13, 2017

A report says that NFL team owners could execute a “nuclear option” against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“They could, in theory, attempt to trigger forfeiture of the Dallas franchise,” Mike Florio of NBC ProFootballTalk (PFT) said, citing a “league source with knowledge of the situation.”

Some NFL owners have been discussing the possibility of taking Jones out, and it comes from Article VIII of the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws, Florio reported, citing his source. In Section 8.13, according to PFT, the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, could determine if an owner “has been or is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on before a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If the commissioner thinks that the sanction, a $500,000 fine, isn’t “adequate or sufficient,” then he could take further action, which includes sending the matter to the NFL’s Executive Committee. That body, according to the report, has the ability to prompt the “[c]ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated.”

Then, according to the directive, he’d have to sell the Cowboys.

Apparently, there is a belief among some NFL owners that “Jones instigated Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter to disparage the NFL, blaming league leadership for ratings declines and, in turn, a reduction in Papa John’s revenues,” according to PFT. Jones owns about 120 Papa John’s stores in Texas. When he was asked about Papa John’s comments, Jones called Schnatter a “great American,” CBS Sports reported.

On Monday, Jones’s son, Stephen Jones, told a radio station that the PFT report is “laughable.”

“I think that’s laughable,” Jones said, CBS reported. “We don’t take it that serious in the least bit.”

“Our thought process and Jerry’s thought process is we want what’s in the best interest of the league. We’re not against Roger (Goodell), we just don’t know if this is the time to be talking about major contract extensions when the league certainly has several challenges in terms of where we are as a league. … Whether that’s our ratings, whether that’s concerns with our sponsors,” Stephen Jones said.

“I think we need to be focusing on our business and not necessarily on contract extensions,” he added.

As PFT noted, should the NFL execute its nuclear option against Jones, it would likely lead to years of legal cases.