Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not one to shy away from any camera or microphone. For better or worse, Jones always has an opinion no matter the subject. Sometimes Jerry Jones unfiltered makes headlines and receives hefty fines from the NFL for his comments. Here’s a look at some of Jerry’s most costly moments since he took over the Dallas Cowboys.
NFL fines Jerry Jones $25,000
Jerry Jones’ first run-in with the NFL’s judicial system happened in 2008, when the Cowboys owner openly voiced his concerns regarding NFL referee Ed Hochuli.
In a post-game interview with reporters, Jones indicated Hochuli was one of the most criticized officials in the league. Those initial comments didn’t draw any penalty from the league. That came a few weeks later after Jones commented on his radio show, suggesting that Hochuli and his crew call a disproportionate number of penalties.
“Maybe the answer is to tell people like that, ‘Keep that whistle out of your mouth.’ My gut here is the emphasis is going to have to be taking officials like that and getting somebody else if they’re going to be penalty prone.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined Jones $25,000 for the comments.
NFL fines Jones $100,000
Jerry Jones’ most costly comments came in 2009, during the middle of collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations. That’s when Jones was interviewed by a Minnesota media outlet and was supposed to be promoting a public financing plan for the Minnesota Vikings potential new stadium when he also shared his thoughts about the league’s revenue-sharing.
“Right now, we are subsidizing this market. It’s unthinkable to think that you’ve got the market you’ve got here, with 3.5 million people, and have teams like Kansas City and Green Bay subsidizing this market. That will stop. That’s going to stop. That’s called revenue sharing. That’s on its way out.”Jerry Jones
On the surface, Jones’ comments seemed harmless. The only problem was the league had imposed a gag order on discussing all topics regarding the CBA negotiations. Roger Goodell fined Jones $100,000 for the comment. But as Jerry Jones is often wont to do, he doubled-down later.
“If my comments in Minnesota were viewed as being over the line, then so be it. The comments were made in an effort to assist a fellow NFL owner and his team’s pursuit of bringing a new stadium to the fans of the Twin Cities. Having just completed the process of stadium construction, and knowing how much it means to an NFL market, this is something that I would do for any of my ownership partners.”
Jerry Jones ordered to pay $2 million
There’s clearly no love lost between Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell. After the NFL suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott six games in 2017 for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, Jones spearheaded efforts with several other owners to disrupt negotiations over Goodell’s contract including the threat of legal action.
Goodell’s contract was ultimately renewed, and Elliott served out the suspension. But that wasn’t the end of it. Jones was ordered to pay back $2 million to the league not as a fine, but as a reimbursement for legal fees for dealing with both cases.
Since that 2018 fine-reimbursement, the NFL has not assessed any penalties against the Cowboys owner. That’s not to say the league hasn’t had its chances. Last season following the Cowboys loss to the Green Bay Packers, Jones offered up post-game comments critical of an official who said then-head coach Jason Garrett used abusive language during the game.
“I hope the little darlin’ didn’t hear something he hadn’t heard before. We should all have stopped the wheel over there if he got [upset] over abusive language.”
The NFL had no comment.