“OH, JERRY JONES”
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 12, 2012 20:11
Owners of professional sports franchises can often be some of the most stubborn, frustrating individuals one could ever encounter. Whether it’s a labor dispute, team relocation, contract negotiation or even a personnel choice, the actions and decisions of owners can cause a fan’s patience to wear thin.
Case in point: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones said last week he has no plans to relinquish control of player personnel decisions. Despite Dallas’ one playoff win and 123-124 record in the last 16 years, Jones still thinks he is the best option to lead his team going forward. He doesn’t have a good reason nor the qualifications to be making player personnel decisions.
Although Jones’ decision is befuddling to Cowboys fans everywhere, he can do whatever he wants. He spent $140 million of his hard-earned money to buy the Cowboys more than 20 years ago. If Jones wants to raise ticket prices, he can. If he wants to make his son head coach, he can. If he wants to be the starting quarterback, he can.
Furthermore, there’s nothing fans or anybody else for that matter can do to stop him. Fans can call in to all the talk radio shows they want, newspapers can write column after column calling for Jones to step down as general manager and Jimmy Johnson can talk all he wants about Dallas’ “country club” atmosphere. Unfortunately, Jones and all the other owners out there do not care what you, me or anyone thinks with regard to how they run their team.
Would sports be better off without volatile owners who at times make questionable decisions? Absolutely. The Dallas Cowboys would be infinitely more successful with an experienced, well-qualified general manager. Jones has been successful in that past. However, sports is an ever-evolving industry in which change is sometimes necessary.
Fans have become disillusioned nowadays into thinking their opinion matters. It doesn’t. As much as one can be a “die-hard” fan of a sports franchise, that title does not give one the right to expect people who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy their team to listen to you. Your favorite team is not, in fact, yours. Just like anything else, it belongs to the people who bought it.
If you do not like it, that’s fine. The beautiful thing about fandom is that it is not obligatory. If you don’t like the way Jones runs his football team, don’t root for the Cowboys. Don’t buy a Tony Romo jersey. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars to go see their games and definitely don’t spend your Sunday afternoons hyperventilating over whether or not Dez Bryant’s left hand touched out of bounds on a Hail Mary. You are more than welcome to root for any other team.
On the other hand, if you do choose to root for the Cowboys or any other team with an eccentric owner, do so by accepting the conditions that come with it. You may have to deal with a gaudy, media-hungry individual who inadvertently holds his team back from success. The rest of the sports world will continue to make a mockery of your favorite team and there is a good chance losing will remain part of the organizations culture.
So if you want to retain the expectation that your favorite sports team is going to take your opinion into consideration, please go buy your own professional sports franchise, and then you can make all the player personnel decisions that your heart desires. Until then, understand that although your favorite team appreciates your support, your opinion will not factor into their decision making 99 percent of the time.
It is unfortunate sports have come to this. The multi-billion dollar a year industry has put the desires and egos of a select group of owners above the fans that live and die with their respective teams. However, nothing is going to change anytime soon. For now, fans just have to accept they are powerless to stop the money-hungry owners controlling their favorite sports franchise.
Paul Tierney is an Assistant Sports Editor at The Review. Send questions, comments and a check worth a NFL franchise to email@example.com.