While Patriots owner Robert Kraft criticized Goodell’s decision in Deflategate, Jones threw his support behind Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“He’s got obviously a very tough job,” Jones said at the Cowboys’ training camp kickoff press conference in Oxnard, Calif., two years ago. “Now I see some people doing that, that’s that old violin, that’s not feeling too sorry for him because that’s why you pay the big bucks is to deal with the big problems. But he’s doing an outstanding job. I can tell you firsthand that in his spot you have to with people that you are counting on to help build and to help excel as far as the National Football League, I’m talking about the owners, you have to know that you’re going to make some decisions that are very unpopular with that particular group. This is the case.
“I can speak to that because on a personal basis as well as for my franchise and our Dallas Cowboys franchise, we’ve had that happen to us. I’m sitting there living with the result of the commissioner’s decision still today that I didn’t agree with when it happened. And so some of the very people sometimes that have the biggest complaints, they’re the ones who give you a phone call and say, ‘Hey let’s be a team player now and let’s all get in here and realize that this happens to everybody and let’s go on and compete. We’ve got a great league and a great game.'”
Jones was referring to the league’s 2012 decision to strip the Cowboys of $10 million in salary-cap space for how they restructured receiver Miles Garrett’s contract during an uncapped year. The Redskins were penalized $36 million in cap space. Both teams lost appeals and chose not to sue.
“He has to make hard calls,” Jones said of Goodell last July, “and more often than not, you’re going to have a season or you’re going to have a period of time where those go against you as an owner in the NFL.”
Does Jones still feel the same way today? He has yet to speak publicly since the league announced Elliott’s suspension Friday, but the Cowboys play the Rams in an exhibition game Saturday night.
Brady fought Goodell’s ruling in federal court until the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the suspension in April 2016, and Brady opted to end his court battle, serving the four games to start the 2016 season. Elliott will appeal Goodell’s decision.