Cowboys' owner and general manager Jerry Jones, speaking to a crowd of nearly 700 at the SMU athletic forum Tuesday, blamed former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller for the team's decision to make its new home in Arlington, rather than in Dallas proper, Fair Park in particular.
The story appeared today in the Dallas Morning News, an interesting take on the failed negotiations six years after the fact--particularly considering that neither the Cowboys or the City of Dallas have ever got into much detail regarding the breakdown in talks. Jones said that Miller all but told him to look elsewhere when the two met in 2004.
"When I met with Laura [Miller], I told her we just had to look at a project the size that we were discussing, which was a $600 million project at the time, not $1.2 billion," Jones said. "And she patted me on the knee, and I said, 'Laura, I can do this somewhere else. I know I can.'"
According to Jones's account, Miller gave him another pat on the knee and said, "Well, Jerry, I believe I'd just go do that."
Miller, per the initial report, could not be reached for comment. But in a statement via email to WFAA-TV Channel 8, she said that, whatever happened all those years ago, knee-patting was no part of it. "The only person I've ever patted on the knee is my husband," Miller said.
Former County Judge Margaret Keliher and Miller have been viewed widely as those most responsible for the city losing the new stadium to Arlington--it doesn't help that Miller publicly opposed public funding for the American Airlines Center--but Dallas County Commissioner Mike Cantrell believes it's not as simple as all that, and places some of the blame on the Cowboys.
"If they [the Cowboys] really wanted to be in Dallas," Cantrell said, "I think they could have worked more diligently with the city or the county in order to keep it here."