Tag Archives: Jerry Jones

The week in bad ownership

In a week where the Washington Football Club/Racist Nickname asked the Washington Post to rename a sports news blog that covers the team and you also have Jerry Jones trying to intimidate the union in negotiations which lead them to decertify and sue the league, you would think the NFL would be a lock for bad owner of the week award.  Not even close as the NBA trumps them all with not only a worse owner but a commissioner that allows it.

Dan Snyder (while amassing billions) just comes across as incompetent.  Donald Sterling and his chief enabler, David Stern come across as worse. Here is how Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski sees it.

Stern has long preached that coaches are too expensive, scouts too plentiful and perhaps no one has heeded the commissioner’s words like the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner. He has a history of hiring them cheap, and refusing to honor contracts. The NBA has a history of letting it go without protests.

Yes, Stern’s silence and inaction on Sterling’s despicable behavior has to be considered as some level of approval. Now, Kim Hughes tells the story to the Racine (Wis.) Journal-Times about how Sterling didn’t pay for his prostate cancer surgery as a Clippers assistant coach several years ago. Clippers players contributed much of the $70,000 needed to take care of the costs that weren’t covered by Hughes’ medical insurance.

And once Sterling fires those coaches and scouts, he often stops paying the balance of their contracts. He dares them to sue. Some can, and do. Some can’t afford the legal fight and end up settling for pennies on the dollar.

This happened with scouts Scott Wissel and Jerry Holloway a year ago. They made less than six figures a year, and the Clippers simply stopped paying them. Essentially, Sterling was telling them, “The season’s over, and so what if your deal runs October to October. It’s April, get lost and we aren’t paying you.”

Eventually, Holloway won a settlement, and Wissel had to fight more than a year to get part of his money. Where was the league office? Where was Stern’s indignity?

Then Stern goes off on Stan Van Gundy who is trying to figure out why his star player gets fowled 593 times this year.  Stern uses this as an excuse to chastise Van Gundy and publically humiliate him

Off to Stern’s Siberia. Stern wouldn’t stop there, because he gets such a charge out of humiliating those under him. Taunted Stern, “I see somebody whose team isn’t performing, whose star player was suspended, who seems to be fraying.”

No commissioner has ever been so emboldened to speak this way. Yet now, so much of Stern’s staying power is built on a far more flimsy baseline. Respect has eroded for him, replaced with fear and loathing.

“It’s a divisionary tactic to take away from the 593 fouls without a flagrant,” one long-time league executive said of Stern’s rant on Van Gundy. “The question is: Do you have to be mean and a bully to be a commissioner? As he’s gotten older, he has become more mean-spirited, and it shows in how he deals with his own staff, coaches and with the new-age owners.”

When Stern goes to Orlando’s ownership group, he knows it’ll soon be wondering how much of an impact Van Gundy’s mouth will have on Howard and the Magic in the playoffs. Teams tremble over retribution from Stern and fear it in the form of officiating.

Big and small markets. Winning and losing franchises. Great and lousy general managers and coaches. Old and new owners. They all agree: Don’t push Stern too hard because there will be a price to pay. Better off bowing, kissing the ring and shuffling past him.

In case you haven’t heard of Donald Sterling before, here are just some of the recent stories.  The recent stories about him grow more horrifying with each new revelation but don’t worry, there are a variety of stories from the past that seem to confirm an ongoing pattern and yet this man is allowed to own a NBA team when no other league on the continent would find his actions permissible. Well done NBA, well done.

The best and worst NFL owners

Michael Silver has a great two part series over on Yahoo! Sports rating the NFL Owners from #32 to #1.  Here are the highlights.

Oakland Raider owner Al Davis

The Worst Owner if the NFL, no secret here.  Al Davis

Think hard: Since the Raiders were blown out in Super Bowl XXXVII by the Bucs (and then-coach Jon Gruden, whom Davis dealt to Tampa Bay after failing to offer him a market-value contract extension), has he or Matt Millen been worse at running a team? It’s a tough call, and that’s scary. Now, sources say, Davis once again has cash-flow issues. In a July interview with team play-by-play announcer Greg Papa of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Davis said he was scaling back on grandiose birthday-party plans because he didn’t want to flaunt his good fortune in a bad economy. “What a joke that was,” says another owner. “He has no money – he’s trying to sell another 10 percent of his team to raise working capital. That’s what that was about.”

If I was Michael Silver, I would just retired #32 for Al Davis.  After he gives up ownership of the Raiders, you don’t become the worst owner in the league, you are just labeled Al Davis.  As a Denver Broncos fan, I hope he keeps control of this team until he’s 140 and then pulls a Walt Disney and leaves instruction on who to draft from the grave.

This one hurts if you are Cincinnati Bengals fan where Mike Brown is rated the second worst owner in the game.

It’s hard to put Brown’s philosophy in its proper context, but here’s a loaded attempt: He’s the 21st century’s answer to a Communist Party bigwig in the Soviet Union’s heyday – gaming a system steeped in shared revenues for his own benefit while setting new standards among his peers for brazen laziness. Says one owner: “Anything that’s going to force him to do any extra work, he speaks out against it.” In recent months, Brown voiced opposition to the league’s moves to allow teams to cut sponsorship deals with state lotteries and hard-liquor providers and to sell advertising decals on practice jerseys. When Saints owner Tom Benson asked for a waiver on club-seat revenues to help fund improvements at the Superdome – part of an admirable transformation that has pushed him away from his usual spot at or near the bottom of these rankings – Brown was the lone Grinch in the meeting room. “It’s a great American story, Tom Benson defying the skeptics and keeping the Saints in New Orleans, and [expletive] Mike Brown speaks out against it,” the same owner says. “Meanwhile, the guy has the best stadium deal ever. It was completely built for him and he has no operating expenses. He probably makes more money than any of us.” Nonetheless, Brown repeatedly advocates for additional handouts from his larger-market peers via revenue-sharing and spends as little of it as he can get away with on employees.

He does get some credit for not changing the Bengals helmets.  I still think they are one of the greatest in pro sports.  Other than that, I’m not so sure.  The stories of the Brown family’s thriftiness is legendary (like being the only team in the league that doesn’t serve breakfast for players).

There is some good news.  Tom Benson has risen up a couple of spots to No. 22 for his efforts to keep the Saint’s in New Orleans.

Benson, who clearly had a wandering eye even before Hurricane Katrina hit, responded to the disaster by recasting his legacy. “It’s hard for me to say this, because I’ve seen him say and do so many stupid things, but Tom Benson has been terrific,” says one longtime critic among his peers. “When everyone assumed he’d use Katrina as an excuse to line his pockets, maybe he viewed it as an opportunity to prove people wrong.” Last week Louisiana lawmakers approved a deal with Benson that will keep the team in New Orleans through at least 2025 and initiate improvements to the Superdome which, blessedly, should put New Orleans back in the Super Bowl rotation.

Okay, Benson’s ranking is the only one I can’t agree with.  He is doing what the Bush administration could not do and this is make a tangible effort at rebuilding New Orleans.

This one hurts Denver Broncos fans everywhere.  Pat Bowlen has a really bad off-season and slips to #17.

After years of relative stability and smart, league-friendly stewardship, Bowlen had what seemed to be the owner’s equivalent of a midlife crisis this past winter after the Broncos blew a playoff berth with a late-season collapse. First Bowlen fired longtime coach Mike Shanahan and replaced him with then-32-year-old Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Bowlen then allowed McDaniels to hire another neophyte, Brian Xanders, as his handpicked general manager. To say the newbies had a rough start was an understatement. In April McDaniels tried to trade 26-year-old franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, lost the player’s trust and acted as though damage control was beneath him, creating an untenable situation that finally prompted Bowlen to deal Cutler to the Bears. After Cutler successfully pushed his way out of town by alienating the owner, star wideout Brandon Marshall attempted to do the same and was miffed when the strategy didn’t work. He’s currently under suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Talk about a Rocky Mountain Low. Through it all Bowlen has been wishy-washy and weak, admitting during the Cutler saga that he’s been having short-term memory lapses. (That might also explain why Marshall’s agent, in June, said Bowlen had told the receiver in a one-on-one meeting he’d deal him while McDaniels insisted the Broncos had no such plans.) Bottom line: I’m worried about Bowlen. He’s only 65, but he appears awfully confused about the direction of his team. Oh, and here’s the capper to a horrid offseason: When Bowlen fired Shanahan, his coach and de facto GM, he wasn’t aware that a league rule required him to post a deposit for the balance of the outgoing employee’s contract. “So he had to give the league $21 million in cash,” one owner says. “Surprise.” Ouch, babe.

And here is a season where Bowlen is reportedly taking a more hands on approach with his team.  Personally I think he fired Shanahan because he just couldn’t fix the defense and there were a lot of questionable coaching calls made over the last couple of years that cost not only games but playoff berths.  The other thing is that Shanahan spent Bowlen’s money like it was going out of style.  It’s fine if you are Jerry Jones and it is your own money but when it is the boss’s money, they tend to get a little tense and uptight at you blowing their millions on players who don’t work out year after year after year.

We all know the Kraft family is going to be number 1 but number 2 is Jerry Jones

But if I were a Cowboys fan, I’d get down on my knees and thank the football gods for sending Jerry and his family to North Texas, and none of you will ever convince me otherwise. Among his many recent accomplishments: Jones, as chairman of the NFL Network, joined forces with Goodell to settle a long-running dispute with Comcast after successfully demonstrating that customers would cancel their cable service if denied access to the channel. Said one rival owner: “You’ve got to give it up for Jerry. The stadium’s spectacular. Four words: Big vision, big testicles.”

Can’t wait until next year and if Silver is correct, Bowlen won’t remember that this list was even published in a week and Mike Brown may be too lazy to read it.

Comments?  Anything he missed?