The N.F.L. has rebuffed a request by the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to call a special owners meeting in less than two weeks to discuss the current negotiations to extend Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract.
The request for an emergency meeting was the latest gambit by Jones to derail the negotiations, which have gone on for nearly six months and are largely complete. Jones had been a nonvoting member of the compensation committee, which is handling the contract discussions, but he was removed two weeks ago because he threatened to sue the N.F.L. and the other six committee members if they did not halt the negotiations.
Jones has been trying to impede the negotiations since mid-August, when Goodell suspended the Cowboys’ star running back, Ezekiel Elliott. But his threat to sue the league and his fellow owners ignited one of the most vicious intra-league fights in years, throwing the N.F.L. into further discord while it tries to grapple with a host of other complex issues. The fight over Goodell’s contract has become so intractable that several owners have warned Jones that his efforts are hurting the league, and could prompt penalties.
Still, Jones has persisted. In a letter sent to Goodell on Thursday that was reviewed by The New York Times, Jones said he wanted to give all the owners the chance to discuss the contract negotiations in the context of “unprecedented upheaval” that has shaken the league, including declining television ratings, “increased advertiser discontent,” and litigation stemming from player suspensions.
The owners, including Jones, voted unanimously in May to extend Goodell’s contract for another five years and empowered the compensation committee to work out the details. But Jones, citing a compensation consultant’s analysis that reportedly said Goodell should be paid $50 million a year, said that negotiations “have gone beyond the scope of what was discussed and authorized” by the owners in May.
In response, Goodell told Jones that his request fell under the purview of the compensation committee and referred the matter to the Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank, the chairman of the committee, which also includes Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, John K. Mara of the Giants, Robert K. Kraft of the New England Patriots, Art Rooney II of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bob McNair of the Houston Texans.