Tag Archives: Jerry Jones

NFL Owners Need Listen to their Business Partners: The Players, Not Trump

11 Aug

Taking a knee for Black lives

 

Instead of pandering to President Donald Trump, it might be a good idea for NFL owners to pander to the group of people that they need to survive.

 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

During the 2011 NFL Lockout, I wrote a column for the Grio.com in response to a statement made by then-Minnesota Vikings  running back Adrian Peterson, who characterized negotiations between the players and owners as “modern-day slavery.”

When folks across the political spectrum heard this, there was a collective freak out over Peterson’s remarks.  When read in their full context, the remarks show that Peterson was referring to the power relationship between the players and the owners.

Whether either side likes it or not, the relationship is symbiotic. You can’t have one without the other.

But that idea often gets lost among fans when players speak out on social issues or even when the players are demanding a better deal during labor negotiations. While the players on these teams might be what sells the tickets and jerseys, thinking isn’t supposed to be part of what they bring to the table, especially if that thought goes against the one person that the owners appear to fear the most: President Donald Trump.

That’s not lost on owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, especially when it comes to the subject of protesting police brutality during the National Anthem before the games start.

AaronRogers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says it’s time to ignore President Trump. Photo courtesy of tmj4.com.

Thus, it was a breath of fresh air when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers weighed in on the issue. In an interview with the Ringer.com, Rogers was asked what he would do about the protest issue if he were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. 

In the interview, Rogers criticized the league’s original anthem policy that would require players to stand during the anthem if they came on the field or stay in the locker room if they couldn’t.

“The owners shouldn’t be able to pass rules without ratifying it through the players” and the anthem policy “definitely falls into that category,” Rogers said. “Especially for something like that — you need collaboration with the [NFL] Players Association.”

Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said that his team will stand for the anthem no matter what’s decided between the league and the NFLPA. 

During his first four years in the league, the players didn’t have to stand for the anthem, Rogers said. In fact, players didn’t even come out onto the field during the time.

“We’d be in the locker room, we’d come out, intros, and then the game,” Rogers said. “Then the DOD [Department of Defense] paid some money for demonstrations and flyovers and whatnot and it became a different policy.”

Rogers also pointed out that the protests started by Colin Kaepernick back in 2016 were not about the anthem or soldiers, but “social equality and racial injustice.” He said most fans inside stadiums are out in the concession stands or in the restrooms. He also said there was inconsistency in the league’s policy.

When it comes to President Trump, Rogers said players and owners need to ignore him and his tweets and not give him any more publicity than he already has.

On one level, I can agree with Rodgers, because Trump is an empty barrel with a junior-high mentality.  But as long as you have sycophantic owners like Jones, who has already decided to kowtow to Trump by saying that his team will stand for the anthem no matter what’s decided between the league and the NFLPA, ignoring Trump won’t be enough.

The truth is that the NFL’s owners have little respect for their business partners — the players (70 percent of whom are African-Americans) — and but are willing to ask , “How high?” when President Trump tells them to jump. What’s really bothersome is that Trump comes after African-American athletes to pander to a base that includes White supremacists.

NFL owners are also playing to Trump’s base as well, and that explains why Colin Kaepernick has yet to land a job in the NFL since he began taking a knee two years ago.

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Despite Bad Call, Lions Have Themselves to Blame in Loss to Cowboys

6 Jan

By Chris Murray
For The Chris Murray Report and The Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens collides with Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew on a controversial reversal of a pass interference call.

Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens collides with Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew on a controversial reversal of a pass interference call.

All the tumult and shouting from the Dallas Cowboys 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions in Sunday’s NFC Wildcard game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. is not coming from Tony Romo’s game-winning eight-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams.

Fans on social media and on sports talking radio have been debating the controversial pass interference call or better yet non-call that happened midway through the fourth quarter.

Ahead 20-17, the Lions had a third and one at the Dallas 46 when quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew. A flag for pass interference was called against Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who appeared to be face guarding Pettigrew while also making contact with his shoulder while the ball was in the air.

Incredibly, referee Pete Morelli announced that the flag had been picked up without explanation. After the game, Morelli told pool reporter, ESPN’s Todd Archer that it was the head linesman who overruled the back judge who initially threw the flag. He also said that unlike the collegiate level, face guarding a receiver is not a penalty.

To be honest, it was bad officiating on that play in more ways than one, but it wasn’t the reason the Lions lost the game. I’ll get to that momentarily.

After that call, things began going South for the Lions. On fourth and one, the Lions intentionally took a delay of game penalty and then punted. But Sam Martin’s punt went just 10 yards. It took the Cowboys 11 plays and 59 yards to get what turned out to be the winning score.

On social media, the non-interference call was justifiably vilified by fans, especially those who hate the Cowboys. Some even pointed to a story that came out back in August that said Dean Blandino, the NFL’s Vice President of Officiating, was seen on a Cowboys-themed party bus hosted by Jerry Jones.
I guess they were implying that somehow Jones slipped Blandino a little something-something to instruct his guys to call things the Cowboys way during the season.

Enough of the conspiracy theories, let’s get down to the football end of all this.

For starters, the lack of an interference call was merely one thing the refs missed on the play involving Pettigrew and Hitchens.

As he was running his pattern, Pettigrew grabbed Hitchens face mask—a 15-yard penalty against the offense. But then Hitchens grabbed Pettigrew’s jersey, which should have been defensive holding or illegal contact.
And lest we forget the antics of Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who came off the bench without his helmet and should have gotten a 15-yard penalty. On that one play the officials definitely got it wrong.

But at the end of the day, it wasn’t the reason the Lions were eliminated from the playoffs. The Lions have themselves to blame for losing this game.

After the controversial play, the Lions still had fourth and one at the Cowboys 46. If they go for it there and make it, we’re not talking about what happened on the previous down.

I’d like to think that if you have players like wide receiver Calvin Johnson or even Reggie Bush you can get one yard against an average Cowboys defense. Johnson, who caught five passes for 85 yards, constantly burned Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr. Running back Joique Bell, who had 43 yards rushing, should be able to get one yard against that defense.

But head coach Jim Caldwell played it conservative and punted, which was not a bad thing to do to pin the Cowboys deep into their own territory. Unfortunately, Martin shanked the punt and the ball traveled a mere 10 yards and put Dallas in good field position at the Cowboys 36—bad execution on the part of the Lions.

If you go back to the play on third and one, the reason there was a collision between Pettigrew and Hitchens. It was a poorly thrown ball by Stafford. If he gets some loft on that ball and puts it out there where Pettigrew can get it, it’s a big play for the Lions.

After Dallas scored the go-ahead touchdown, the Lions had the ball with 2:32 and two timeouts left. That’s plenty of time to march down the field and win the game. The Lions drove from their own 20 to the Dallas 42 and needed three yards to convert on fourth down.
Unfortunately for the Lions, Stafford not only gets sacked, but he fumbled the football. You can’t put that on that non pass interference call. The Lions had an excellent opportunity to win the game, but did not execute when it counted.
After scoring the game’s first two touchdowns in the first quarter, Detroit scored just six points over the next three quarters. The Lions rolled up 257 yards of offense in the first half and had 13 first downs. In the second half, Detroit had just 140 yards and just six first downs.

I know the emotion of Lions fans and those who just hate the Cowboys are going to harp on the non-interference call with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter as the main cause of Detroit’s demise. Yes, the officials screwed up royally on that one play.

However, the Lions did not make enough plays to advance to the next round, something Caldwell was quick to point out during his postgame press conference.

“I’m not going to sit up here and act like that was the play that made the difference in the game. We still had our chances,” Caldwell said.

 

The Associated  Press contributed to this report.