There is no doubting that the most controversial owner in the NFL is also the most widely known and arguably one of the most respected. Wait. Forget that last part. While I can respect what he has done for the the sport and the Cowboys organization as a whole, I just cannot stand by and say that I continue to respect what he does. Bottom line, he is no longer an owner, he is the face of the organization, and there in lies the problem.
Lets take a look at some of the most respected and honored owners of the NFL: Robert Kraft, the Mara and Tische Families, the Rooney Family, Pat Bowlen, Steve Biscotti and a few more.
How many of these owners are making general manager decisions? None.
How many give press conferences after games before the coach or players? None.
How many are shown on TV more than the head coach? None.
How many are the first thing that come to mind when thinking of the organization? None.
How many have said there is no medical link between the NFL and CTE? NONE
That last one is the most egregious of all Jerry Jones faults because it just further proves his ignorance. After countless articles, journals and even books from credited sources, including doctors, about the links between repeated head trauma found in football and CTE, Jerry Jones still has the balls to get up in front of the media and tell them there is no evidence of this link.
“We don’t have that knowledge and background, and scientifically, so there’s no way in the world to say you have a relationship relative to anything here,” Jones said, according to the Washington Post. “There’s no research. There’s no data. … We’re not disagreeing. We’re just basically saying the same thing. We’re doing a lot more. It’s the kind of thing that you want to work … to prevent injury.”
Oh wait, it gets better, Jones continued to push his agenda:
“No, that’s absurd. There’s no data that in any way creates a knowledge. There’s no way that you could have made a comment that there is an association and some type of assertion. In most things, you have to back it up by studies. And in this particular case, we all know how medicine is. Medicine is evolving. I grew up being told that aspirin was not good. I’m told that one a day is good for you. … I’m saying that changed over the years as we’ve had more research and knowledge.”
In the last few years, the NFL has undoubtedly had an image problem. Whether it was off the field with their players (or owners in Irsay’s case), on the field with injuries and in the locker rooms with broken jaws. There was one thing however, that almost everyone but the NFL could agree on and that was the link between NFL, head injuries, concussions and CTE. Up until a few weeks ago, the NFL stayed neutral on the topic, they would neither confirm nor deny the correlation of the two. Then a miracle happened. They finally acknowledged the relationship. This is huge for the NFL, the NFLPA and future football players. Why? Because you cannot solve a problem unless you first admit there is one. We can sit here and bash the NFL for taking so long to finally admit to this until we are blue in the face, but that helps nobody. Doctors, researchers and even the media kept pushing the agenda, and the NFL finally jumped on the train. Now we can all move forward in a unified and unilateral direction, right? Wrong.
This is wrong because Jerry Jones had to open his big mouth and say what he said. Now, I am not going to criticize the education he received at the University of Arkansas, or deny that he has built an empire in Dallas, but he is just wrong and stupid for saying this. I don’t know if its a lack of education or just ignorance on his part, but both would be a problem. Either he spoke without knowing the facts, which is bad, or he knew the facts, chose to ignore them and say this anyway, which is worse.
The NFL is now left with one of the owners who refutes the scientific evidence the NFL itself has corroborated, saying something he knows is controversial and will stir up a crowd.
The Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team”, has one of the largest and most loyal fan-bases in all of sports. They have fans everywhere and they spread like a weed. Jerry Jones is their idol, they love him and they treat his words like they are a book in the Bible. So when he says things like this, you bet your ass there are people out there that were already on the fence about the CTE thing now jumping into the deep end, frivolously denying the connection between football head injuries and permanent and life threatening brain damage.
Jerry Jones is a polarizing figure in the NFL, more so than any owner should be, and if I were a Cowboys fan, I’d want him out. He isn’t afraid to stir the pot, that is for certain, but when you continue to stir the wrong pot, you get yourself into trouble. Jones and his mouth have said far too many controversial things for the NFL to continue to stand by and allow him to continue doing things the way he does.
When your owner becomes the most public figure of your organization, more than your players, more than your coach, it is a situation that will continue to douse gasoline on a burning fire.
Signing and defending a domestic abuser like Greg Hardy (and Dez Bryant for that matter) is one thing, but to publicly deny the CTE correlation debate has put Jones on the wrong side of the fence yet again.
The NFL is untouchable in its popularity, they are the richest of all major sports, and they are almost too big to fail. But they continue to not even try to stay out of the limelight. The league finally got something right with the CTE announcement and continued support for research and technology. So for them to have one of their owners to publicly deny the link is not good, and for that reason, among others, Jerry Jones is a problem for the NFL that will go uncorrected; and that’s just a damn shame.
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