During a closed-door NFL owner's meeting, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reportedly had a great many takes about the future of the league: namely that players should be free to use marijuana and the NFL should conduct fewer investigations of domestic violence allegations.
A source with direct knowledge of the meeting told NBC's Pro Football Talk blog about Jones's suggestions for improving the health of the league. There are obviously selfless proposals that definitely have nothing to do with the numerous Cowboys players busted in recent years for either failing banned substance tests or committing violent acts against women.
Last November, Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory tested positive for marijuana while serving a suspension for previous violations of the NFL's banned substance policy. Gregory has more failed drug tests (six) than total sacks (one) in his two-year career. Gregory is one of three Cowboys that have run afoul of league substance abuse policy, and one of two to get caught using a recreational drug—linebacker Rolando McClain tested positive for "purple drank," a cocktail of cough syrup, codeine, and Sprite. These pesky drug suspensions are getting in the way of Jerry's team winning a playoff game for the first time since the Cowboys didn't receive a reflexive eye roll whenever someone referred to them as "America's Team."
According to the source, Jones had to be reminded during the meeting that he can't autonomously decree an end to testing for weed because it falls under NFL's banned substance under the collective bargaining agreement. He'll have to go through the bureaucracy of asking the players what they think.
The Cowboys' repeated accusations of domestic violence make the repeated drug controversies comparatively tame. Two recent Cowboys stars, Ezekiel Elliott and Greg Hardy, have been at the forefront of the NFL's public issues with domestic violence. Elliott, their Pro Bowl rookie running back, is currently under investigation over an assault allegation from his former girlfriend. The woman, who has identified herself as Tiffany Thompson, has accused Elliott of assaulting her on five separate occasions and has posted bruises of her alleged assault
to her Instagram account. Hardy, a former defensive end, was arrested in 2014 for assaulting a former girlfriend, who, like Thompson, posted graphic photos documenting the alleged abuse. Hardy maintains his innocence. He's currently a free agent that, last we heard, is training for a MMA career.
More on Greg Hardy
Jones adamantly defended both of his players saying hebelieves there is "absolutely nothing" to the allegations, while Elliot insists that he's a "target."
If you squint your eyes past the self-interest of Jones' recommendations, there are obvious criticisms about how the NFL handles drug use and domestic violence. A league facing a class-action suit by their former players for illegally administering unsafe amounts of painkillers while denying its players access to medicinal cannabis just doesn't add up.
Plus, the NFL's recent emphasis on conducting independent domestic violence investigations and doling out punishments as Diana Moskovitz argues, may, in fact, put their victims at greater risk of continued abuse and as such, do little to dispel cynicism that their tough-on-crime attitude is more than a glorified PR move.
As it is, both of Jones's recommendations are unlikely in the near-term.