Finally, finally, the Cowboys' long battles with the NFL over Ezekiel Elliott's 2017 domestic violence suspension and Commissioner Roger Goodell's new contract seem to be coming to an end. Wednesday, as first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones agreed to fork over nearly $2 million in legal fees to the NFL, following a tumultuous year of conflict between the league and one of its biggest attractions.
Jones met with Goodell and the NFL's finance committee Monday to argue that he shouldn't pay because he wasn't an official party to Elliott's lawsuit and that he hadn't unduly interfered with league business as league owners negotiated Goodell's new contract last fall.
The NFL said Wednesday that it had resolved its issues with Jones.
“After a hearing with the Commissioner and the Finance Committee, the matter of the reimbursement of legal fees has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties,” the league said in a statement.
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Under a rule adopted by the NFL in 1997, team owners are required to cover both sides' legal costs when they take action against the league.
Following Goodell's decision to suspend Elliott for six games because of domestic violence allegations made by the running back's ex-girlfriend, the NFL Players Association bankrolled the star player's appeal against the league. Elliott succeeded in staying on the field through mid-November before giving up the fight when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected his request for a preliminary injunction that likely would've allowed him to play through the 2017 season as his case went to trial.
In the midst of Elliott's appeal, Jones threatened to sue the league over Goodell's proposed deal but didn't follow through. Goodell eventually received a contract paying him more than $40 million per year, and Jones received an official rebuke from the compensation committee, one that finally resulted in Wednesday's agreement.
The Cowboys declined a request to comment.