Jerry Jones and the Land of Free Passes

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is known for giving players a second chance.
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is known for giving NFL players a second chance on the field and in life.

By Lance Rinker

Jerry Jones wants us to believe he is a man who values giving second chances to those who have made a mistake or two. Jerry Jones wants us to believe his sole purpose for helping players who are in trouble with the law, have a history of violence and domestic assault, or deal with addiction and mental health issues among other things is because he’s such a great person. What many believe is his ‘good-will,’ if that’s what we’re calling it, has more to do with wanting to win than it does with helping someone become a better person.

It’s possible the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Perhaps Jones gives these free passes to players while making an attempt to provide them the resources needed to better themselves as human beings, only if they perform. According to former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, as long as guys like Greg Hardy remain productive on the field then Jones will tolerate any ‘distractions’ off of it.

Aikman joined The Musers on KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket in Dallas in November to really talk about the history of the moves Jones has made in direct relation to troubled players.

“I guess the line is when he’s no longer productive, you know? I think that’s always been the line for Jerry Jones, is he’s one to pretty much accept everything as long as a guy’s productive. There’s not many owners in this league like that. Obviously, (Carolina owner) Jerry Richardson isn’t like that. They could certainly use Hardy in Carolina even though they’re undefeated. As far as a pass rusher, they don’t have that type of guy, but (Richardson) wasn’t going to keep him. I think over the years, if you just look at the history of the moves that have been made and the players that have come through, the indiscretions that if at some point he’s not productive, then he won’t be on the team any longer regardless of whatever it is that’s going on off the field, and if he is productive, then he’ll be here as long as he is.”

The Cowboys, and Jones, have a long history of bringing in troubled men who have either engaged in questionable behavior when it comes to drugs and alcohol, or troubled men who are violent and have a knack for smacking women around.

Hardy, whom the Cowboys have been facing media and fan backlash for signing all season, isn’t some great guy who accidentally made one mistake. He has a history of lacking maturity, not being trustworthy, having a sense of entitlement, and of course – violent behavior.

When you heard about what he allegedly did to his girlfriend, Nicole Holder, at the time it was bad enough. When pictures were released that showed the damage actually done, it was far worse than what Ray Rice did to his wife, then fiancé, Janay Palmer.

Just this season, the Cowboys also had to deal with the arrest of former running back Joseph Randle, who no longer is playing football. The history of players given free passes from Jones and the Cowboys organization as long as they produced on the field is a long one.

Michael Irvin was the Cowboys’ resident bad boy with issues during the 90s, mostly focused on drug and alcohol abuse though he did enjoy his prostitutes and was even caught snorting cocaine off the bare chest of one by the police.

There were players in between Irvin and now Hardy who could be considered even worse. Nate Newton has been described as a violent man who beat the living shit out of his ex-wife on many occasions. The ex-wife of the former Cowboys offensive lineman says Hardy’s situation isn’t the first time Jones has knowingly supported a man who commits violent crimes against women.

In an interview with SI Now’s Maggie Gray, Dorothy Newton last month claimed the Cowboys not only knew about the “emotional” and “verbal” abuse inflicted on her by Newton while he was a player, but they also supported his behavior by providing him with such a free pass.

“It was something that happened quite often,” Dorothy told Gray. “I just became the result of his way of releasing anger and frustration and a lot of things he was dealing with.”

There was even a moment where Nate’s outside marketing representative revealed the alleged abuse to someone within the Cowboys organization. Instead of doing an actual investigation or involving law enforcement, the organization instead told Nate, and Dorothy endured one of the worst nights of her entire life as a result.

“That’s when he came home and shoved a custom-made kitchen table into my pregnant stomach and scraped it, thank God, and also shot at me,” Dorothy said.

Because Nate Newton was such a great performer on the field and helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories, it didn’t seem to matter what he did off it.

The Cowboys like to point to how they helped franchise wide receiver Dez Bryant turn his life around and make better life choices through their guidance. If we’re being honest, they stuck with Bryant because of what he is able to do on the football field. Granted, they were successful for how they provided the  support system and structure Bryant needed coming out of college. But, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the fact it was Bryant who made the decision to turn his life around.

Even still, for every Dez Bryant who makes the decision to become better than he was as a person the day before, the Cowboys still go out of their way to accommodate the Greg Hardy’s, Nate Newton’s, and Josh Brent’s of the world. Not because they truly care who they are as human beings and wanting to help them get their lives back on track. No. The organization, and Jerry Jones, do it because of a certain level of desperation for victories on a football field.

Ain’t that some shit. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys will only help you and dole out that free pass if they think they can get something out of you. Once that stops, so does the free pass. Good luck playing and rooting for ‘America’s Team.’