Sports | October 29, 2017 12:50 pm

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Leading Charge to Halt Roger Goodell Extension

ESPN reports that National Anthem protests increasingly damaging standing of NFL commissioner.

Jerry Jones
In this Nov. 9, 2014, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talk during an NFL football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys at Wembley Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

One of the most powerful owners in the NFL may be playing prevent defense with the once-sure contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell.

Source told ESPN that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was a “leading voice” during a conference call among 17 NFL owners floating the possibility of scuttling commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension — originally scheduled to be ratified as a mere formality last month.

“We just don’t have enough problem solvers,” another NFL owner told ESPN. “We gotta get it right or we’re just going to let it burn.”

On paper, particularly the accounting ledgers, Goodell has been an All-Star. He has helped grow the league’s finances since taking over for the retiring Paul Tagliabue ahead of the 2006 football season. He doubled NFL revenues within his first ten seasons, largely through savvy negotiations in television contracts and new revenue streams.

But there has been growing frustration on all fronts over the NFL’s handling of the mounting controversy over players who kneel during the National Anthem in protest to racial injustices in the country.

The divide between black players and many white team owners was exemplified by the uproar over Houston Texans owner Bob McNair’s comments comparing protesters to prison inmates. That analogy led to his team’s star receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, leaving practice to show his disgust.

More important to the bottom line, TV viewership is dropping by the week, in large part because of the anthem protests — and the exodus seems to be coming from both sides of the issue. A large demographic of the viewership, including President Trump, sees the kneeling as disrespect towards troops who put their lives on the line for their country.

But advocates say the gesture of defiance first used by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season is to draw attention to police-involved, fatal shootings of black men and overall racial inequality in the country. That Kaepernick is still a free agent as part of what’s seen a de facto ban by owners over his politics has spurred a separate boycott movement.

It isn’t the only blemish on Goodell’s resume: Critics are still unimpressed with his handling of the CTE medical crisis, the Chargers’ bungled move to Los Angeles and the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

“You don’t get to have this many messes over the years like Roger has had and survive it,” one owner reportedly said during the call.

But his seat is likely still safe, for now, since the NFL would need 24 owners to approve replacing Goodell.