First of all, I'm sympathetic to the viewpoint that what a prominent person does in his or her personal life, up to a point, is his or her own business. Where that point is depends on why the person is prominent, the particular private action involved, when it took place, whether it compromises the person's public activities, and other contextual variables. This site generally avoids broadcasting stuff about the hosts that may come its way that is not in the public record.
The very different reactions of The Hardline and The Musers on the Jerry Jones photos is notable. I'm referring here to the first segments done by those shows on the subject. If they've gone into it more deeply since -- that is anything other than passing mentions -- I didn't hear it.
The Hardline crew was unanimously dismissive. Their points:
-- Jerry's philandering and alcohol-fueled carousing are well-known. Actually, I hadn't known it, but a little scouting on the Internets suggests that it may indeed be the case that Jerry's a too-often-drunken poon hound, or at least has some history of it.
-- Many men have arrangements with their wives that permits extramarital adventures; the wife "signs on," as it were, to this circumstance in return for whatever benefits she gets from the marriage.
-- Nothing will come of this. Nothing should come of it.
All of those points may be correct. I am mildly skeptical, but only mildly. I'll get to that in a moment.
The Musers mused a little more deeply on the matter.
-- They noted that, at that point, not a single major media outlet had given the publication of the photos any play at all.
-- They wondered what Roger Goodell thought of this. I believe they made reference to Roger Goodell's dithering over what, if anything, to do about Jim Irsay. (Nothing, yet, but he has commented on it.)
-- They made passing reference, if I'm recalling correctly, to the possible effect on the Jones family.
As I said, the Hardline may be right that nothing will come of this.
But I think there is at least the possibility that something will. I'm wondering if we'll hear from women's groups. I'll bet Roger Goodell has at least made a phone call to Jerry.
But what I'm really wondering about is Gene.
True it may be that she knows what Jerry does when he goes out at night and travels to faraway places. And true it may be that she's made the bargain the Hardline ascribes to women like her.
But the women who make those kinds of deals do so with the understanding that the tomcatting itself will remain private. They do not sign on to be publicly humiliated, and that is what is happening to Gene Jones.
Which takes me back to those contextual circumstances I mentioned above. What if Gene decided she'd had enough? Independently prominent spouses like Hilary Clinton and Huma Abedin have hung on for their own craven political reasons (hell, Hillary told Huma to divorce the pathetic Anthony Weiner), but Silda Spitzer divorced Eliot's sorry hosebarge ass and got millions; on the Republican side, there's Ahhnold, quickly sent on his way by Maria Shriver. Sports example? Elin Nordegren Woods.
Texas is a community property state. Property acquired by a spouse after marriage is, generally speaking, the property of both spouses. I was speaking to a long-time well-informed observer of the Cowboys, and expressed the thought that surely Jerry had some kind of post-nuptial agreement with Gene that partitions their property in a way that would designate Cowboy-related assets as Jerry's separate property (i.e., his in the event of a divorce). This guy said he doubted it (although he was in no way privy to the Joneses' estate planning).
So I speculate -- of course! -- on a possible course of events should the mortifying photos not go away and Gene's society buddies (who may themselves be Cowboy fans as disgusted at Jerry's incompetent management as by his injurious behavior) tell her to make her move.
My point: While we're very uninformed about Jerry's financial planning and Gene's disposition, those photos do have the potential to influence the ownership of the Cowboys. Even if Jerry has the Cowboys tied up, a divorce nevertheless might influence the team's operations. Consider: Jerry's net worth is estimated to be in the $3.1-3.2 billion range. That includes the value of the Cowboys, which is estimated at $2.3 billion. Would Gene have made a deal after all those years of marriage that didn't give her halvsies, even if it didn't include the Cowboys (purchased at the time for a measly $0.14 billion)? (I have considered the possibility that these numbers are apples and oranges, as the net worth figure includes aggregate indebtedness but the Cowboys value figure may not.) Is it possible that a divorce would have a negative impact on Jerry's ability to invest in the Cowboys? If Gene walked off with the oil and gas, would the franchise throw off enough cash for Jerry to continue to flirt with the salary cap?
I have two answers for that: (1) Probably, and (2) I have no idea. And, of course, they may have a post-nuptial/partition agreement that would give Jean much, much less than half in the event of a divorce.
OK, I'm way off in cloud-cuckoo land, big surprise. All I'm saying is that those pictures have the potential to do something that no mortal ever dreamed possible, and that is to shake up the management, if not the ownership, of this franchise. Has this not even occurred to people in the sport reporting biz? While I concede I'm speculating, are these scenarios so remote that they don't bear the slightest consideration?
Which leads me to my final point, which is: The Musers started to make an excellent point when they noted how the MSM were running from the story like MSNBC from the IRS scandal. The Hardline is going to be exactly right if this story dies, either because the Niffle does nothing, or news media do nothing.
I say: Roger Goodell, you're terrific at bullying players. Whatcha going to do about titgrabbing, crotchoffering, possible extortion target, so-drunk-he-allowed-himself-to-be-photographed Jerry Jones (and Jim Irsay, for that matter)? I quote the Commish, speaking after fining Detroit Lions owner Tom Lewand $100,000 and suspending him for 30 days in 2010: "You occupy a special position of responsibility and trust. [T]hose who occupy leadership positions are held to a higher standard of conduct that exceeds what is ordinarily expected of players or member of the general public." What's changed since 2010?
I also say: Dale Hansen, how about showing some real courage, yes, courage even greater than required to support a gay player that the country is already largely rooting for? How about calling out your pal Jonesy, who has mortified your city, disgusted Cowboy fans, and is in the process of revealing your own profession as a willing handmaiden to the AlDavisization of a once-great franchise.
So yeah: There's a real story here -- the corruption of the major sports media. There's another one lurking: a Jones family shakeup. (We haven't yet considered the effects on future Cowboy ownership of a Stephen Jones divorce.)
You know, though: The Hard Ones are probably right. This story is going to die, and with it, any likelihood that Gene will kick Jerry's wizened glutes to the curb. I'd just like to see someone do some digging, and think it through.
At least The Ticket is talking about it. Here's your assignment: Let us know what The Fan ("the station of YOUR Dallas Cowboys") had to say about this story. [Also, please advise on Norm's and BaD's reaction.]
I'm FOS? Sure, happens. But my hypothetical isn't crazy, and The Musers share my bafflement, if not my disgust, at the supine sports media. Those pictures are a disgrace, and I'd like to see someone claiming to be a reporter do some, you know, reporting.
I'll conclude by thanking you for shopping at My Ticket Confession, and remembering that comments are moderated. (I've gotten some amusingly bilious ones lately.)
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CORRECTION: Earliest editions of this post misspelled Mrs. Jones's name as "Jean." Thanks to Confessor Anonymous for correcting my error.