Dallas Cowboys: Did Jerry Jones Go Too Far With ‘Zeke Who’ Comment?
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones clearly was in a festive and jovial mood when he was surrounded by reporters last Saturday following the Dallas Cowboys’ preseason victory against the 2019 Super Bowl participants the Los Angeles Rams, winning 14-10.
During his routine post-game media huddles, Jones was asked about the Cowboys’ accomplished running back Ezekiel Elliott. Jones’ response reflected his light-hearted, celebratory spirit. Besides securing the victory, rookie Cowboy’s running back Tony Pollard had an impressive performance, 5 carries for 42 rushing yards (8.4 yards/carry) and scored a touchdown in the NFL All-Pro running back Elliott’s absence. After a pregnant pause, Jones’ said “Zeke Who?” Unanimously, all reporters laughed uncontrollably with great amusement. Even Jerry Jones enjoyed a delightful chuckle, tickled by his own snappy comeback.
However, Elliott and his agent Rocky Arceneaux did not get the joke. It was reported that superstar RB Elliott was unhappy with Jones’ comments. Additionally, Elliott’s agent told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “I didn’t think it was funny and neither did Zeke. We actually thought it was disrespectful.”
Jones, Agent Rocky Arceneaux, and Elliott are in the middle of negotiations. Elliott effortlessly out-performed his rookie contract leading the NFL in rushing two out of his three years in the league with the Dallas Cowboys. Although two years are still remaining on Elliott’s contract, he is currently holding out of all football activities until he receives a new contract with more money from the Cowboys.
In typical Jerry Jones fashion, he responded vigorously and did not mince words stating “I’ve earned the right to joke with Zeke”.
Agreed!! I also applaud and fully support Elliott’s decisions to secure his financial future before he returns to the field.
Ladies and gentlemen what we have here is the quintessential example of antithetical perspectives in sports. Jones is operating and speaking from the mentality of a businessman but loves the game of football. On the other hand, Elliott is functioning from the position of “I love the game”, but my business must be addressed. Candidly, both Jerry Jones and Elliot are correct!
Then who is responsible?
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At the heart of the matter is the crippling bylaw in the NFL CBA, which egregiously allows a team to draft a running back, sign him to a 4-year rookie deal, then place multiple franchise tags on him. As a result, this heavily restricts the player’s financial compensation.
Meanwhile, the team runs the ball as often as they wish, knowing that all running backs due to the inevitable uninterrupted physical abuse they endure, have a finite capacity of carries before they are no longer productive at a high level. Other organizations in the NFL are watching and know by the time in year seven of the running back’s career when they finally become unrestricted free agents, they do not have to pay top dollar for their services because of immense wear and tear.
Running backs are the most undervalued position and are most likely to suffer an injury abruptly on any given play. With that in mind, it is paramount to get paid as quickly and as much as possible in order to provide for their families as well as a peace of mind for themselves.
It will be interesting to see if the Dallas Cowboys pay their star running back or if the holdout lasts into the regular season.