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Cowboys' Jerry Jones: NFLPA Comparing Owners, Players in Watson Case Is 'Standard'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 7, 2022

Omar Vega/Getty Images

The NFL Players Association included a list of past indiscretions by NFL owners in its reply to the league's appeal in Deshaun Watson's disciplinary case, according to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that was common practice from the NFLPA.

"It is a standard players association comeback," he told Hill. "That is the drill. That is the drill to go around to say you didn't punish such and such. Anybody would know that every player case and every case that involves non-players in the NFL are dealing with dramatically different principle facts, which is all the difference in the world."

The NFL is currently appealing the six-game suspension independent disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson gave Watson after over two dozen women accused him of sexual assault or misconduct.

Two separate grand juries in Texas declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, and Watson has settled 23 of the 24 civil lawsuits.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has appointed former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to oversee the league's appeal. Per the Associated Press, the league is reportedly seeking "an indefinite suspension of at least one year and a fine around $8 million."

According to Hill, the NFLPA reportedly "included owner misconduct in the hearing with Robinson before the initial decision on discipline was made because of the league's threat to seek unprecedented punishment."

The NFLPA's brief reportedly included Jones in its list of ownership misconduct gone unpunished, alongside citing the investigations into the Washington Commanders' widespread workplace toxicity and misconduct under owner Daniel Snyder and the solicitation charges brought against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Washington was fined $10 million by the NFL in 2021 after it concluded its own investigation but remains under investigation by the House Oversight Committee, while charges were dropped against Kraft in 2020.

It is unclear what the NFLPA referenced in particular regarding Jones.

In 2014, a woman accused him of sexual assault in a lawsuit, though the case was dismissed.

In February, ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. reported that the Cowboys reached a $2.4 million settlement with four cheerleaders who accused longtime senior vice president for public relations and communications Richard Dalrymple of voyeurism while they were undressing after a 2015 event.

And in March, Jones settled for nearly $3 million in a paternity suit brought against him by Alexandra Davis—who said that Jones was her biological father—and her mother, Cynthia Spencer Davis.

Jones, however, sees no merit in the NFLPA citing any of the aforementioned situations as a way of arguing a double standard in how discipline is doled out for players compared to owners, believing each situation should be judged individually.

"It would be like walking down to the courthouse and saying, 'You didn't give that guy that much' and not take into account what the action was or the circumstances behind it," he said. "That's called shooting volleys. That's just shooting stuff over your back. That's the way I look at it when I see something like that."

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