Sunday, September 13, 2009
Updated: September 14, 2:35 PM ET
Sources: Jones fined at least $100K
By Chris Mortensen
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made a comment about revenue sharing and now he's sharing his revenue with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Jones has been fined at least $100,000 for violating a gag order on labor issues last week, according to league sources.
Jones stated on Sept. 4 that revenue sharing is "on its way out," while doing a media interview originally intended to support Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's quest for a new stadium.
Revenue sharing is considered a critical component of the NFL's pending collective bargaining talks since the owners exercised an option in May 2008 to terminate the deal after the 2010 season.
The union has maintained that the owners' biggest issue is amongst themselves because of the revenue sharing model and Jones' comments seemingly emboldened that position.
Goodell had issued a gag order for all owners and team executives from discussing any aspect of the pending labor issues. Jones crossed the line, drawing a "six-figure" fine, sources said, as the commissioner distributed a memo Friday to all 32 owners, along with a reminder that the gag order remains in effect. Goodell did not disclose the specific amount of Jones' fine in the memo.
A league spokesman declined to confirm or deny the fine, labeling such an issue as an "internal matter."
Jones didn't apologize for his comments in a statement released Sunday.
"If my comments in Minnesota were viewed as being over the line, then so be it," he said. "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. It just goes to show how intertwined labor issues are with the construction of new stadiums -- from a positive perspective."
When he was last heard from in Minnesota as the Cowboys wrapped up the preseason, Jones tried to send a message to assist Wilf's efforts for a new stadium. He made himself available to the Minnesota media as a favor to Wilf, according to a Cowboys source.
"Right now, we are subsidizing this market," Jones said. "It's unthinkable to think that 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."
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst.