Jerry Jones Brings Down Papa John Pizza Man This Time

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, center. (Brandon Wade/AP for Papa John’s)

Gulfport  Jerry Jones, bully-boy owner of the Dallas Cowboys team in the National Football League has not had a good year, though he is likely too oblivious to know it, and, as bad as his year has been, it’s been an even worse year for everyone and everything he touches.

On his own account, he has become one of the only members of the American superrich to have perfected the art of the Trump Two-Step. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. The Trump Two-Step is where he puts his foot firmly in the wrong direction, either down his own mouth or in some outrageous lie, claim, or endorsement, and then when the rest of the world catches up to his con, claims it was a win, he was right, and the whole world is wrong.

When Jones was just beating his chest and boasting about the Cowboys, his billion dollar stadium, and his little patch of ground in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, who cared? That kind of behavior was just part of the package. Then Trump gets elected, Jones makes the mistake of thinking the whole world has changed, and all bets are are off. He thinks the Trump election means that the first amendment is now last, freedom of speech is history, he owns the plantation, and all protests are outlawed. Wrong, and Local 100 is part of the slapdown there along with almost all of the other NFL owners who look the other way. His players are so mortified they have to call him into the clubhouse and school him on race and the police. He tries to hold up the NFL Commissioner’s contract and gets humiliated. The then doubles down and makes it clear in the time of #MeToo that his real beef with the Commish is the fact that he thinks his star running back should just get a hand slap for domestic abuse rather than a multi-game suspension. Once again, Jones is living in the 50’s and even the retrograde NFL knows you can’t sanction women beating anymore. Of course, Jones doing the Trump Two-Step claims he still won somehow, while the Commissioner gets $40 million per year for the next five or so.

You hear what I’m saying, everything Jones touches now goes south.

His lawyer in threatening the NFL contract is big name litigator, David Boies. He gets crossways on ethics because he was representing the NFL on some matters and is now part of the Jones mess threatening to sue them. Awkward! Now one newspaper after another has written about the constant conflicts that Boies finds himself in and his reputation has dropped like a rock as someone who’ll do anything for another buck, and represent both sides against the middle.

And, now the Papa John Pizza man, John Schnatter, is taking a fall for Jones. Remember Schnatter seemed to be pimping for Jones when they were playing flag football, claiming after Jones stirred up the controversy that all of the mess was hurting his pizza sales and faulting the NFL’s leadership for not toeing the Trump line. Jones turns out to own or co-own 120 Papa John’s franchises. Jones claims Schnatter is a great American and “when he talks, I listen.” Most of the sporting pages around the country placed their bets on the fact that when Jones talked, Schnatter also listened. Now it turns out that Schnatter’s likely listening meant that he gets to walk the plank for Jones. Turns out the rest of Papa John’s people didn’t like being touted as the go-to-place for white supremacists or having politics become their special pizza topping. The stock price has fallen even more than pizza sales. Schnatter gets booted upstairs.

Jones knows the Trump Two-Step, so he’ll claim he had nothing to do with any of this. He’ll probably throw Mr. Papa John under his golf cart, and claim he hopes the stock and sales in his stores will go up now.

Take a hint and learn from the last year. If you are a friend, associate, or employee of Jerry Jones, recent history says, buy a clue, and make a new year’s resolution to stay clear of him as much as you can. Until he figures out how out of step he is with the rest of America, he’s toxic, and he’ll bring you down.


Jerry Jones’ Trump Tactics are Revealing More of the Dark Side of the NFL

New Orleans  The public rarely gets a good inside view of rich people’s world, but thanks to the Jerry Jones, owner and chief potentate of the Dallas Cowboys, formerly known as America’s Team, we’re all being shown a vivid display of a real time reality show that turns out to be a plain and simple horror movie. The 32 super rich owners of teams in the National Football League (NFL) are arguably one of the most exclusive rich folks clubs in the country. Thanks to Jerry Jones, we can now confirm that their operations are so tone deaf to what’s happening in America to its people and their lives that they are virtually alien beings.

Full disclosure. The New Orleans Saints are on a roll with seven consecutive wins and knocking on the door to win their eight and have become a contender this season. Having never paid much attention to Jerry Jones, his bullying and illegal coercion of his players until the national anthem controversy forced Local 100 United Labor Unions to step in and file charges against his threats with the National Labor Relations Board, so now we follow him more closely to make sure he toes the line.

Turns out that he’s not only a bully to his players and something of a Simon Legree employer, but a “my way or the highway,” wannabe-bully with his fellow rich club owners, as well as bad loser, bad sport, and Trumpian pretender and reality shapeshifter. In a precious irony, he is also making his own team an object of pity, rather than pride, and destroying its brand throughout the country.

His star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, got caught up in a domestic abuse mess, and the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been largely an empty suit and a poster boy for missteps in handling domestic abuse in the past, stepped up and suspended Elliott for six games for his actions. Courts have upheld the suspensions, and Elliott has dropped his own appeals and served the first game of his suspension already. Jones though wants a special standard for the Cowboys and his star’s behavior and after having been part of a unanimous vote for an extension of Goodell’s contract and advocate of some of the incentives for his pay, has become the fly in the ointment. His threats to sue the league got him booted off the compensation committee where he had been a nonvoting member and threatened with censure. He has masked his pique around Elliott’s suspension by claiming Goodell’s contract should be held up because of recent problems with decreased fan support for the league and the anthem mess, but Jones now only sounds like Trump trying to blame Clinton because he doesn’t want to deal with his Russian problem.

In a pure move modeled after his buddy, Trump, he has now gotten into a letter writing war with the other owners by claiming they agreed to an all-owners vote to review Goodell’s extension, while the committee has responded saying there is no such agreement and that the owners have already voted for the renewal. Jones also leveraged his 100 pizza franchises into a pizza war claiming that advertisers were losing money on the anthem controversy and allowing the other pizza companies to make fun of him by citing their soaring sales.

Additionally, and perhaps more revealing, Jones has now told ESPN according to the Times, “that Goodell had promised him that Elliott would not be suspended for his involvement in a domestic abuse case,” although Goodell’s spokespeople said there was no such commitment, so “when Goodell then suspended Elliott, Jones told colleagues he would seek revenge, the article said.” What a piece of work this guy is! The owners have threatened him with sanctions. They might should consider putting the team up for sale while it still has any fans outside of Dallas.

Meanwhile the terms of Goodell’s $30 to $40 million per year contract and extension for the nonprofit and Congressionally favored NFL have become grist for the mill at the same time as the reports of the NFL’s miserly record in meeting the terms of their $1 billion settlement over the effects of concussions on its players has also become public. Only 140 of 1400 claims have been honored, and most of those claims have not been fully paid. Parents are increasingly not allowing their children to play football, and efforts to offset the crisis are weak kneed. Football is being pushed from a popular sport to a place alongside guns, sexism, and red state politics, which will marginalize it, if not kill it, in the future.

The NFL might have better prospects with Jones just selling pizzas or whatever and Roger Goodell finding another job somewhere outside of football. But in a country reeling with division and inequity, watching the way billionaires and millionaires pad their own paychecks and ignore the issues of the day in their exclusive club, could also kill what’s left of its public support, as the fans realize it’s just about them, and never about us.