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Don't forget about the voyeurism scandal in 'Jerry's World'
The NFL wants bad news to simply fade away. It shouldn't. Also inside, we explain how two of Aaron Rodgers' favorite coaches factor into his decision and why Green Bay should move on.
The story drifted out of the atmosphere far too quickly. Which is strange.
This is “America’s Team,” after all: the Dallas Cowboys.
This involves the single most powerful man in the sport: Jerry Jones.
All of the worst suspicions one could possibly have about a franchise built in the image of its hard-partying owner were revealed with the reporting of Don Van Natta Jr. As he wrote last week, the Cowboys paid a confidential settlement of $2.4 million to four members of their cheerleading squad who had accused Richard Dalrymple, the team’s senior VP for public relations and communications, of voyeurism in 2015. One cheerleader indicated that she clearly saw Dalrymple stand behind a partial wall, the report says, in their locker room with his iPhone “extended toward them” while they changed their clothes. Dalrymple was able to get into their locker room with a security key card.
Not only that. Dalrymple was also accused by a lifelong fan of snapping “upskirt” photos of Charlotte Jones Anderson, a team senior VP and daughter of Jerry Jones, during the NFL draft that same year. This fan signed an affidavit that he saw this while watching a livestream of the team’s draft war room on the team website.
A team rep told Van Natta Jr. that the Cowboys investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing by Dalrymple and no proof that he took photos or video of the women. (Shocking, I know.) The Cowboys did not dispute that Dalrymple used his key card to enter the cheerleaders’ locker room while they changed and, per the ESPN report, Dalrymple was issued a formal warning in October 2015. After each cheerleader was paid $399,523.27, he continued to work with the team in his same role for nearly six years. Dalrymple retired in February, just days after ESPN contacted his attorneys involved in the settlement.
For 32 years, he served as the spokesman and fixer for Jerry Jones. For 32 years, he’s been an indomitable fixture in the middle of the most profitable sports franchise in the world. He was also one of the four people interviewed for NFL Films’ “America’s Game” documentary on the 1995 Super Bowl Championship team. That’s odd for a PR official but shows just how prominent of a role Dalrymple has played in Dallas.
And, yet, the news of his retirement wasn’t even mentioned on the team’s website. Hmm.
An internal investigation into the matter didn’t turn up any dirt. Strange.
It doesn’t take a secret agent to smell something fishy here. This reeks of everything we heard back in the summer when we reported on “Jerry’s World” for this series at Go Long. One longtime Cowboy great who asked to remain anonymous labeled this a “morally corrupt” organization. While everyone got a sneak peek of how ownership operates when scandalous pictures of Jones with strippers surfaced, this player said that wasn’t abnormal behavior. He described the Cowboys as a company rooted in “friendships,” more than “business” and that, if you agree with the Joneses, “you’re in.”
“You’ve got to agree with them. If you don’t agree with them, there’s conflict. And you will find your ass out. … It’s almost mafia-like. They hang together. They run together. There’s a lot of people within that organization that do some crazy shit together. It’s a little backwards.”
One reason people in the front office are able to last as long as they do, this player says, is “they’re running with them Joneses.” The 79-year-old owner hasn’t exactly slowed down, either.
“He’s different, man,” this player said. “He has that Michael Irvin in him. Irvin could party until 3 or 4 in the morning and he’s up at 5, 6 balling. And he’d go the whole day. That’s Jerry.”
As an aside, I’d encourage everyone to read Jeff Pearlman’s “Boys Will Be Boys” book on the Cowboys’ dynasty of the 1990s.
This is how things have always been run.
When it comes to Jerry Jones and the lifestyle of the rich and famous in Dallas, there’s certainly a lot we don’t know… but Dalrymple likely does. Would Jones really punish the man who knows where the metaphorical bodies are buried? Of course not. Such fixers are protected in every multi-billion-dollar corporation. Jones was able to throw money at this problem — confidentially — and it took six years for anybody to learn about any of this. Don’t hold your breath for anyone in the league to care, either. Jones is the ultimate power broker in this sport. Commissioner Roger Goodell works for the owners and no owner is more powerful than Jones. So, round ‘n round the Cowboys go. Such moral corruption continues to seep into the fabric of the franchise and there’s no accountability.
The NFL isn’t going to investigate the matter itself, calling this “a club matter.”
This comment, of course, comes nine days after Goodell said there’s no way an NFL team can adequately investigate itself. The Washington Commanders announced the team hired investigators to look into the accusations of a former employee against owner Dan Snyder and the commish proclaimed the need for an “outside expert.” Apparently, such a standard applies to Washington but not the Cowboys.
Such is a pattern we see out of this league. Bad news hits, it’s written and talked about for 24-48 hours and it goes away. The NFL simply banks on the general public forgetting about bad news and, usually, the NFL is right. Be it Dalrymple and a potentially toxic culture in Dallas or allegations of an owner offering a coach $100,000 per loss.
The history of this league is stained with controversies and accusations that vanish in thin air, and it’s disgusting.
Maybe the Cowboys win again. Maybe not. The report last week is disturbing and, likely, the tip of an iceberg. We should not all so seamlessly move right along to breaking down the Cowboys’ 2022 breakout candidates with a fancy graphic on TV.
A Rodgers decision?
Have no fear, a cryptic Instagram post is here. In the middle of last night Aaron Rodgers treated IG as if it were a high school yearbook. He didn’t say whether or not he wants to play for the Green Bay Packers in 2022 through this “Monday Night Gratitude,” but Rodgers did get everyone to talk about himself.
There’s a good chance Rodgers joins his friends at the Pat McAfee Show today and he did previously pledge to share this decision with McAfee. We’ll see if anything substantive is said. Let’s just hope the 38-year-old is true to his word and doesn’t drag this charade on for five months again.
We know where the Packers stand in coaxing the 68-year-old Tom Clements out of retirement to be their quarterbacks coach. Depending on your vantage point, they’re either correctly getting with the times or acting out of desperation. They’re either smart to do whatever would make their MVP quarterback happy or missing a golden opportunity to move on from a regular season star who melts in the postseason. Head coach Matt LaFleur declared everyone was on the same page in wanting Rodgers back, then went ahead and hired one of Rodgers’ all-time favorite coaches. Clements, of course, was hired as the team’s QB coach in 2006 — Rodgers’ second season — and stuck around through 2016. In many ways, he taught Rodgers the position itself at the pro level and Rodgers has never been shy to express his affection.
Back in my Milwaukee Journal Sentinel days, I’d sit down with Rodgers for an extended 1-on-1 conversation in the spring and, in 2012, he wasn’t shy.
Fresh off his first MVP season in 2011, Rodgers praised Clements as “the biggest” reason for his consistency.
“Very consistent personality, said Rodgers in that conversation. “Incredible teacher of the game. And the perfect dynamic in our relationship where there's a tight friendship and I really look up to him as a person and consider him a dear friend. However, there’s a line between player and coach that exists on the field where I look at him as a father figure and, to me, I never want to disappoint my father. So when I take the field, I want to make him proud with the way he has prepared me. The last thing I want to do is let him down.”
Obviously, a lot has changed in a decade. The quarterback likely would not use that same analogy today.
Nonetheless, the team that let Rodgers defy Covid protocols (until he got caught) is clearly primed to do whatever it takes to keep him happily employed by the Packers. Clements was most recently an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. At most, he took the job knowing that Rodgers would be back. The two almost certainly had some sort of conversation. Bare minimum, the hiring serves as one deafening message to Rodgers.
A year ago, the team acquired whatever was left of Randall Cobb to appease Rodgers.
This year, they’ll presumably go to even greater extremes. (Stand by, Jake Kumerow.)
And, yet, this is all Rodgers’ call. To get him into camp last summer, the Packers granted the quarterback such freedom this offseason.
If he wants out, he’ll be granted that wish.
Would he prefer to work with Clements again or, say, reunite with new Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett? That’d seem to be the most logical destination and, ironically, Clements and Hackett could not be on more polar-opposite ends of the personality spectrum if they tried. Whereas Clements is a cagey, crusty customer who seemed to prefer having his wisdom teeth pulled out without anesthesia than have to deal with us in the media, Hackett has always bounced off the walls. His energy is contagious… and Rodgers hit it off with him, too. Readers here will recall that one Packers teammate described the quarterback’s affection for this coach as more of a “gooey, gah-gah” kind of love in meetings.
Also, don’t forget that the Broncos general manager, George Paton, spent the prior 14 years mostly getting his butt kicked by Rodgers and the Packers as a member of the Minnesota Vikings’ front office. If Matthew Stafford and his 74-90-1 career record were worth two first-rounders, a third and Jared Goff, what could Rodgers fetch? Paton and Hackett would unquestionably put together a historic trade offer to acquire the services of the back-to-back MVP.
Considering the Packers are too scared to step into the great unknown themselves, maybe Rodgers will do them a favor and ask out. I’ve got no confident prediction here. This truly does feel 50-50, if not 60/40 that Rodgers returns to Green Bay. He’s an unpredictable, “complicated fella” to figure out. Retirement was a real possibility last summer and likely is again. The Clements hire is a biggie, and Rodgers has total autonomy in Green Bay to do whatever he wants at the line of scrimmage.
Maybe this past season helped him appreciate how good he really has it in Green Bay.
This front office has built one heck of a defense the last few years, too.
That being said, if Rodgers wants to keep playing, it’s best for the Packers to move on. The opportunity to rebuild with an unlimited supply of assets is rare in all of pro sports and, holy, the Broncos have those assets by the truckload. Our Bob McGinn nailed it in his player grades, too. This was a very efficient quarterback who made practically no mistakes in the regular season after Week 1, but when the playoffs arrived? He played scared. He wouldn’t drive the ball downfield and, for the second straight year, the Packers lost at home as the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
This was a stunningly lethargic performance by Rodgers.
Instead of banging their head against the wall, the Packers should make the tough decision, the bold decision and move on. The ball’s in Rodgers’ court now. With one IG post, the quarterback ensured high ratings for his next McAfee appearance. As many have noted, the 10th of 10 pictures he posted is a shot of Randall Cobb and Davante Adams standing on the sideline before the Chiefs game with an empty space between them — right where he’d normally stand.
Whatever that means.
SKOR North’s Judd Zulgad reported that the Carolina Panthers reached out to the Vikings on quarterback Kirk Cousins, who’s entering the final year of his two-year, $66 million extension. New head coach Kevin McConnell expressed a desire to work with Cousins but Cousins is also set to make $45 million guaranteed in 2022 and probably will not be interested in a paycut after throwing for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven picks in 16 games. Just a hunch, but here’s thinking this new regime hits eject if a team is willing to take that contract on.
If a team is looking for fresh blood at the quarterback position in 2022 without breaking the bank, I think they could a lot worse than Mitchell Trubisky.
Very eager to see what the 37-year-old Luke Getsy can do with Justin Fields as the Chicago Bears’ new offensive coordinator. Fields was not good as a rookie. Pressure will certainly mount for the former Ohio State star to deliver with a new coaching staff, and Getsy cut his teeth with Rodgers a few hours south.
The NFL and XFL reached an agreement for the XFL to serve as a “Petri dish” of sorts, testing out proposed rules, new equipment and develop prospective coaches, president Russ Brandon told ESPN. Very cool news. My podcast co-host, Jim Monos, is now the director of football ops for the league’s reboot and we discussed some potential innovations a few weeks back. The XFL has an awesome opportunity here to innvoate the sport.
New names almost always take a while to catch on. Will the “Commanders?” The Washington Post polled 904 locals on the nickname and found 49 percent of people had negative feelings about the name with 41 having positive and 11 harboring no opinion. Considering we all shorthand nicknames in sports, Washington opened itself to some “Commie” ridicule. That doesn’t seem ideal in the nation’s capital. Not going to lie. The Washington Football Team seemed perfect.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Kyler Murray unfollowed the Cardinals on social media and deleted team-related content. I think he’s sending the team a not-so-subtle message three years into his rookie deal. He’ll want a new deal soon. And I think the team itself would also like to see Murray grow as more of a leader. He can be an aloof quarterback on the sideline. Before making him the next (very) rich man at the position, Arizona wants to see more out of Murray off the field.