Charlotte Jones Anderson was referred to as a “rock star” by host Scott Murray several times from the stage at Texas Wesleyan Tuesday afternoon.
The Dallas Cowboys’ executive vice president and chief brand officer, and only daughter of Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, does indeed have a rock star vibe. After a question and answer session from Murray and the audience she posed for pictures and visited with wide-eyed students.
She is as at ease chatting with CEOs as she is with TWU football players, who she invited on stage to help illustrate a story about Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.
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She was on campus as part of a speaker series endowed by Marjorie Herrera Lewis in honor of the Star-Telegram.
Here are excerpts from Anderson’s conversation with the Star-Telegram, which has been edited for clarity:
Q: What’s the biggest misconception about your father?
A: I think one of the things that is most criticized but also one of his best qualities is how much he cares about each player. Sometimes to the extent that he can’t part with the player. He is so invested in each one of them and truly cares about them and their family. The more challenges they have the more he wants to help them and the more chances he wants to give them. I think it’s such a great inspiration for people that are trying to get it together and trying to make things work and trying to get a healthy start, but he often gets criticized for that because he’s ‘giving them too many chances,’ and that ‘he’s too loyal and can’t make difficult decisions’ like that. But if that’s your biggest foible then so be it.
Q: Defensive lineman Randy Gregory, who has battled depression and substance abuse is a good example of that empathy, right?
A: He said this guy has a serious issues. That’s a real issue. We go through our society and we realize part of our whole systemic problem is mental health issues and people become homeless because they never get treatment for things our society ignores, our society pushes away and doesn’t help address. My dad said we have a responsibility to help. I don’t care what anyone says about me. This guy needs help. I’m going to help him. And if somebody wants to say something negative about it, so be it.
Q: How does he handle the criticism?
A: The misnomer would be that he doesn’t care about the criticism. He cares a lot. Nobody likes to be criticized. He takes a ton of criticism. The criticism hurts. He doesn’t like to not be liked. That hurts anybody. It hurts him.
Q: He seems to handle criticism so well, at least publicly. What’s he like behind closed doors?
A: Even when things are really rough and I think I’m calling him to say, ‘Hey, cheer up, the sun is going to come up today!’ He says, ‘Charlotte, you hear this? That’s the world’s smallest violin. Nobody feels sorry for me today. I’m the luckiest man alive. I get to do this. This too shall pass.’ So he just has this optimistic, everything is half-full, but not half-empty view. He just has the knack for putting it in perspective. If we all had a quarter of his optimism to say ‘Today will be a fabulous day regardless of the train that hits me.’
Q: Was he like that before buying the Cowboys in 1989?
A: He certainly presented to us as a family that every day was fairy dust, but he had a lot of financial difficulty. He didn’t share that with us. He wanted us to think it was Disney World … he’s not going to show you the hurt, he’s going to move right on through everything because it’s all going to be better. That really has inherently been apart of him since growing up.