There has been so much talk about the Dallas Cowboys and their supposed lack of concern regarding domestic violence after signing defensive end Greg Hardy that owner Jerry Jones and vice president Stephen Jones believe people have forgotten a key factor in the equation.
The visibility of the Cowboys can raise awareness for domestic violence while also holding Hardy accountable.
“One thing about the Cowboys is that it’s a great platform to make people aware about domestic violence, the fact that we don’t want that in our society,” Stephen Jones said. “We take domestic violence very seriously. We feel strongly you have to be accountable in that area. It was important to us to structure a contract that holds him accountable.”
Both of the Jones are attending the NFL owners meetings this week.
Jerry Jones said he has a proven track record of supporting domestic violence issues dating 40 years, long before he bought the Cowboys and including his work with the Salvation Army in North Texas.
“We are seriously interested in doing what we can positively do to not have domestic violence and to not have sexual violence,” Jerry Jones said Tuesday. “That’s just not what the record shows for two decades of my involvement with the Cowboys.
“It can be violence — it can be that — it can be hunger, it can be a lot of those things. I’ve got four decades of having sensitivity toward battered women and involvement in trying to help find shelters and help find that.”
Jones said many of his critics have never been to a safe house.
Without going into specifics, Jerry and Stephen Jones said there is a plan outlined in Hardy’s contract that will allow him and the Cowboys to use their platform to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“We have a great agreement with him that requires him to account to the NFL, all other teams, society — relative to what he does to play football,” Jerry Jones said. “That agreement is thorough and it accomplished everything that you would expect us to have if we were wanting him to not do that again.”
Stephen Jones pointed to the team’s player programs department and the team’s infrastructure.
“We also believe in redemption. He paid a price and there is more of that to come,” Stephen Jones said. “Our eyes are wide open that there is more to come.”
The Cowboys have no quarrel with the criticism they’ve received for signing Hardy.
“I’m open to the criticism,” Stephen Jones said. “People have the right to have that opinion. People have varying degrees on when redemption should occur. I have nothing but respect for those opinions.”
Dez hasn’t signed
Wide receiver Dez Bryant has not signed his franchise tag, guaranteeing him $12.7 million in 2015.
The Cowboys have not had any more talks about a contract extension.
However, the team is not concerned about the possibility of Bryant holding out. They expect him to fully participate in off-season workouts, which begin in late April and they expect him to be ready to go when the 2015 season starts in September.
“I’m not worried about that at all, and it’s because of how much he loves the game, how much he knows that preparation, practice, all of that improves him,” Jerry Jones said. “He’s at a time in his career where he’s physically still very much improving, can get better. I know how much he loves to play football. I know how much he loves his teammates. I know how much he loves his team and I know how much money he’s getting. With all of that, you play.”
Bryant’s agent, Tom Condon, said in a radio interview a few weeks ago that not showing up for the voluntary workouts and holding out were among their options.
The Cowboys have until July 15 to sign Bryant to a long-term deal. If no agreement is reached, he would be forced to play next season with the tag.
Jones acknowledged that there has been no progress on contract talks with Bryant, and that he has no idea if a deal can get done before July.
“I don’t know, and Dez doesn’t know,” Jones said. “I don’t see angst there at all. I hear angst from media, but I don’t see angst.”
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760