Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has earned a reputation over the years for being brash, for good or ill. In the mediated negotiations leading up to the lockout, this particular characteristic reared its head in an all around ugly, though kind of laughable fashion.
In a story described today by Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, Jones’ theatrics late in negotiations between owners and the NFL Players’ Association served to only further the dissension between the two sides, and possibly drive the players toward decertification last Friday.
After Federal Mediator George Cohen allowed each owner a chance to speak, the following (kind of hilarious) dramatics ensued:
Jerry Jones, never one to pass up center stage, tried to lighten the mood by talking of his upbringing and the business acumen that led to his purchase of the Cowboys 22 years ago. The tenor changed when he began discussing how two years of negotiations had failed to bring the sides closer. What he said next, with arched eyebrows, helped steer the situation past the point of no return.
"I don't think we've got your attention," Jones said to the players, several of whom recounted the incident to SI. "You clearly don't understand what we're saying, and we're not hearing what you're saying. So I guess we're going to have to show you to get your attention."
Jones tapped his fists together for emphasis—the players interpreted it as a sign that a lockout was coming—then stood and walked toward the door. As he reached the end of the table, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, another labor hawk, began to rise, but Robert Kraft of the Patriots, who was sitting next to him, put a hand on Richardson's forearm and kept him from going.
Jones’ over-the-top antics weren’t exactly well received by players, either. One player said afterward, "I think everybody in the room thought it was overly dramatic, almost hilarious. It was like a Jerry Maguire moment. You know, 'I'm leaving. Who's coming with me?' I know it didn't scare any of us."
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