The NFL is demanding reimbursement in excess of $2 million from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for court costs related to star running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension and Jones’ threatened litigation over commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
The owners are citing a rule that has been on the books for more than two decades, that says if an owner participates in bringing litigation against other owners, he must reimburse them for the legal fees.
An earlier report by The New York Times characterized the reimbursement as a fine to be levied on Jones by Goodell.
The league will order Jones to pay all fees that the compensation committee incurred while legally defending itself from the longtime Cowboys owner’s threats to sue over the extension of Goodell’s contract. The Cowboys never followed through on that suit. Jones will also have to compensate the NFL for all its legal fees spent defending the Elliott suspension.
The reimbursement action was generated by fellow owners, not Goodell, and has been approved by the league’s finance committee, sources told Graziano.
Jones clashed with Goodell and the league on multiple issues in 2017. Jones was a vocal advocate of delaying a contract extension for Goodell and proposed on Dec. 1 to implement a six-month moratorium on finalizing the deal. Jones also threatened to sue the league if the compensation committee approved Goodell’s extension, and was publicly critical of Elliott’s six-game suspension.
The Cowboys did not offer a comment when contacted by ESPN.
The issues between Jones and Goodell went back to training camp. Jones asserted during training camp last summer that he did not believe Elliott would be suspended. When Goodell made his decision to suspend Elliott for six games, lead investigator Michelle Roberts was not counseled, nor was her opinion of the case taken into consideration. That played a big part in the legal back-and-forth between Elliott, the NFL Players Association and the NFL. The Cowboys offered “statements of support” through the legal system from their team attorney, Jason Cohen, who attended the hearings in Texas and New York.
Jones insisted his involvement in the Goodell negotiations was separate from the Elliott case and that he was an “ad hoc” member of the compensation committee to serve as an “ombudsman” of sorts for the owners not on the committee. However, last year when the league voted on whether to extend Goodell’s contract, the vote was 32-0 in favor. Jones’ apparent change of heart on the discussions came after Elliott’s suspension was announced.
Jones said his issues went beyond Elliott. He was concerned about lower television ratings, the effect of the protests before and during the national anthem, and the structure of Goodell’s proposed contract.
“They have a term in business called a MAC — Material Adverse Circumstances happen[ed] between the time that you shook hands and the time you did the deal,” Jones said after the owners’ Dec. 13 meetings in Irving, Texas. “It’s a very valid change of scenery. … Anybody who says we haven’t had any changes since last spring would be an exaggeration.”
Jones was granted an “owners only” session during those league meetings after Goodell’s extension was announced. While he could not block Goodell’s deal, he said he believes he was able to win something because of changes that will be made to the NFL’s way of doing business with the commissioner in the future.
Goodell and Jones were in the same room during a news conference that followed the meetings.
“Do I look like I take it personally? Jerry, do I look like I take it personally?” Goodell said, pointing to Jones. “No is the answer to that question. As I have said before, I think people disagree. People who have the ability to do that within the context of our structure is something that makes us stronger. My relationship with Jerry has been great. We don’t always agree. I’m not paid to agree, and he’s not paid to agree with me.”
Said Jones: “I hope Roger earns every dime. That means he’s doing a great job, and we’re doing good.”
Jodie Foster thanked Aaron Rodgers in her Golden Globes acceptance speech
Jodie Foster won a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in the legal drama “The Mauritanian,” where she plays the lawyer of a man imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Now, Jodie Foster winning an award isn’t unusual — she’s an actress and director with an incredible career that’s spanned decades. She’s been in “Taxi Driver,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Contact,” and has directed episodes of “Black Mirror” and “House of Cards.” Her trophy case is pretty full.
🚨 JODIE FOSTER JUST THANKED AARON RODGERS 🚨
– Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 1, 2021
Now, upon further review, there are at least two connections here. One, Shailene Woodley, who is engaged to Rodgers, is one of Foster’s co-stars. Two, Jodie Foster is a huge Packers fan — and Rodgers thanked her during his NFL MVP acceptance speech earlier this month.
Aaron Rodgers’ MVP acceptance speech (via @NFL) and yes he spoke the words “engaged” and “fiancée”
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) February 7, 2021
Foster was coy when addressing Rodgers thanking her on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, saying that she didn’t know Rodgers, that the Woodley connection was a coincidence, and that she’d thank him next time she got a chance. Well, she got a chance and kept her promise.
Irv Cross, pioneering Black sports analyst, dies at 81
PHILADELPHIA — Irv Cross, the former Pro Bowl defensive back who became the first Black man to work full time as a sports analyst on national television with CBS, died Sunday. He was 81.
The Philadelphia Eagles, the team Cross spent his six of his nine seasons with, said Cross’ son, Matthew, confirmed his father died near his home in Roseville, Minnesota. The cause of death was not provided.
“All of us at CBS Sports are saddened by the news of Irv Cross’ passing,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “Irv was a pioneer who made significant contributions to the storied history and tradition of CBS Sports and, along with Phyllis George and Brent Musburger, set the standard for NFL pregame shows with THE NFL TODAY.
“He was a true gentleman and a trailblazer in the sports television industry and will be remembered for his accomplishments and the paths he paved for those who followed.”
Cross spent 23 years at CBS and won the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2009. He was the first Black recipient of the annual award, which seeks to recognize “longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.”
Cross, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, had 22 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles and a pair of defensive touchdowns for his career. He also averaged 27.9 yards on kickoff returns and returned punts.
He joined CBS after retiring from the game, covering a variety of sports before teaming up with Musburger, George and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder on “The NFL Today” in 1975. The show broke a variety of barriers, including featuring the first woman network sports show anchor in George. It also was the first live pregame show.
Cross left the network in 1994 and later served as athletic director at Idaho State and Macalester College in Minnesota.
Musburger called Cross “one of the finest gentleman I’ve been with” in a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday.
“No one ever had a bad thing to say about Irv,” Musburger wrote. “He led the way for African Americans to host NFL and other sports shows. Rest in peace my friend.”
The eighth of 15 children, Cross is survived by wife, Liz; children Susan, Lisa, Matthew and Sarah; grandson Aiden; brothers Raymond, Teal and Sam; and sisters Joan, Jackie, Julia, Pat and Gwen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ex-Notre Dame football star Louis Nix, 29, found dead after reported missing
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Former Notre Dame and NFL football player Louis Nix, who had been reported missing earlier this week, was found dead on Saturday, family members told two Jacksonville television stations. He was 29.
Nix’s family reported him missing on Wednesday to police. After several days of searching, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tweeted at 8 p.m. ET Saturday that Nix had been located but did not report Nix’s condition. CBS/Fox affiliate Action News Jax reported that Nix’s mother confirmed that Nix had died. WJXT TV-4 reported Nix’s death via another family member.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Nix was last seen at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, leaving his father’s Jacksonville residence. Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly sent out a tweet Saturday morning asking for the public’s help in finding Nix.
Nix was injured in a shooting in December while filling his car’s tires at a gas station near the Jacksonville airport. He said on social media that he spent 10 days in the hospital and that a bullet ricocheted off his sternum and went into his lung.
Nix starred at Jacksonville’s Raines High School and played three seasons at Notre Dame before being drafted in the third round by the Houston Texans in 2014. Nix, a defensive tackle, never played a game for the Texans because of knee injuries and played in just four games in 2015 for the New York Giants. He also spent time on the practice squads with Washington and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016.
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