With Jerry Jones threatening to sue the league, other owners have discussed the possibility of ousting Jones instead.
Jerry Jones' brewing war with the NFL over Roger Goodell's contract extension has heightened tensions across the league and some owners seem to believe that it was the Cowboys owner who pushed Papa John's CEO John Schnatter to attack the league.
Jones has threatened to sue the league and some of his fellow owners over Goodell's contract, as first reported by the New York Times. The threat prompted Jones to be removed from his position as an ad-hoc member of the NFL's compensation committee, the committee tasked with negotiating Goodell's contract. But that may have just been the first step.
According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, some owners have discussed the possibility of going nuclear on Jones.
Florio reported that owners opposed to Jones could potentially trigger a clause in the league's constitution and bylaws that could force an owner to sell his team if it is determined that the owner "has been or is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football."
The owners' case against Jones would likely hinge around the recent debacle between the NFL and their relationship with Papa John's pizza. According to Florio, some owners believe that Jones made an appeal to Schnatter to disparage the league for a loss of revenue due to declining ratings and poor leadership during the ongoing protests from players. If that can be proven, NFL owners may be able to argue that Jones' actions were against the interests of the league.
Should the commissioner find that to be the case, and believes a monetary fine insufficient punishment, he can pass the matter along to the NFL’s Executive Committee, which has the power to compel "[c]ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated," with a directive to sell the team.
Papa John's backpedaled from Schnatter's original stance on Tuesday night. The company issued a statement on Twitter apologizing for Schnatter's comments and vowing to work with the NFL and its players "to find a positive way forward." The account also directed the middle finger emoji to "neo-nazis" after the pizza chain was named the "official pizza of the alt right."
It's still a long shot that other owners would make such a move against Jones. It would undoubtedly lead to years of legal cases. However, the threat of such a legal battle is at the very least another weapon being used in this blossoming war among NFL owners.
This post has been updated from its original version.