Revenue-sharing comments get Jones fined

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was reportedly fined at least $100,000 for comments he made at the Metrodome, saying that the league's revenue-sharing plan would not last many more years in its current state. Jones was actually supporting the concept of a new Vikings stadium but didn't want to subsidize low-revenue teams with his high-revenue Cowboys. See more of his comments inside.

Jerry Jones doesn't want to share his money with the Minnesota Vikings, or any other NFL team, but his comments regarding the future of the NFL's revenue-sharing system cost him more than $100,000 in a fine from the league, according to ESPN.

Jones said the NFL's revenue-sharing system as we know it is going away. Ironically, those comments were made at the Metrodome, the league's lowest revenue-producing stadium, before the Cowboys and Vikings played their preseason finale.

"Right now, we are subsidizing this market," Jones said on Sept. 4 while voicing his support for a new Vikings stadium. "It's unthinkable to think that you've got the market you've got with 3½ million and have teams like Kansas City and Green Bay subsidizing this market. That will stop. That's going to stop. That's called revenue sharing and that's on its way out."

Later, the Dallas Cowboys owner added, "I'm just not going to sit here and take part of that value and part of those resources away from the Cowboys so I can help the Vikings. There's nothing there and we all understand that. I'm a great fan of Minnesota, but that's just not the way it's going to work. It really is going the other way. There is no support."

Jones was fined for those comments because the league had issued a gag order on team representatives discussing ongoing labor negotiations. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association is set to expire following the 2010 season after the owners opted out of it last year, and if an agreement isn't reached before free agency starts in 2010, then next season would be an uncapped year.

Jones, whose Cowboys are opening a billion-dollar-plus stadium this year, said 85 percent of NFL revenues are shared, calling that "far in excess of what any other league shares."

"We're in the last year of our collective bargaining agreement and then next year is an uncapped year and then we won't have it anymore," he said. "When the labor agreement is over, it's over and when there's a new one in, it won't be part of it."

Jones was actually speaking to Minnesota reporters in support of the Wilf family and the Vikings ownership group getting public financing for a new stadium.

The Cowboys were ranked first in NFL revenues by an annual report in Forbes magazine published earlier this month. While the Cowboys were listed with $1.65 billion in revenue, the Vikings were ranked second-to-last in the NFL at $835 million in revenues.

NFLPA SHOOTS BACK

The players union responded to comments by the NFL regarding the ruling the U.S. Court of Appeals made on Friday, giving Vikings players Pat Williams and Kevin Williams the opportunity to argue their case in Minnesota court and allowing them to cite state employment laws in their battle against the collectively bargained drug policies between the NFL and NFLPA.

"The real losers today are the players on 31 other clubs, who no longer live under the same rules as players on the Minnesota Vikings – a result of the NFL Players Association's failure to stand behind the program it negotiated with the league, and for which it has properly claimed credit with fans and before Congress," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mailed statement Friday afternoon. "The most respected program in sports has been put in jeopardy by the NFL union's silence and today's ruling."

The union shot back.

"The players objected to a system where the NFL can withhold information from its players and nonetheless punished the players for something about which they were unaware. What the NFL dismisses as mere silence, players challenged in the pursuit of fairness. Nonetheless, the NFL knows that the players continued to seek a mutual resolution of this issue up until this decision," the union said in a statement. "The NFL's concern for uniformity is as important today as it was before the 8th Circuit's (court of appeals) decision. We are reviewing the decision, but we continue to welcome the opportunity to discuss a resolution that is fair to all players."


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