Buckley: Jerry Jones should bite his tongue in Ezekiel Elliott case

A lot of Patriots fans are rolling back the videotape to a couple of summers ago in their quest to reveal Dallas Cowboys

A lot of Patriots fans are rolling back the videotape to a couple of summers ago in their quest to reveal Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as a man whose family should gently but firmly keep him away from microphones.

You know the drill: In July 2015, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft was looking for somebody, anybody, in the Billionaire Boys Club to see his side of Deflategate, Jones was blowing kisses at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Jones wanted everyone to know that Goodell was “doing an outstanding job,” and he directed a little tsk-tsking at his fellow owners when he observed that The Big Guy sometimes needs to make tough decisions “that are very unpopular with that particular group.”

Jones pointed to himself, and how in 2012 the ’Boys were penalized $10 million in salary cap space for their handling of receiver Miles Austin’s contract. But that’s not what interests Pats fans. What does interest Pats fans is what happened Friday, when the NFL suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games without pay for the alleged role he played in a domestic violence case that has lingered since last summer.

According to a tweet posted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is said to be furious with NFL decision, per one source. Furious.”

This is the part where we all say, “Huh?”

What about Jones’ comments about how Goodell has a tough job, that he has to make tough decisions, unpopular decisions, gotta think about the good of the game . . . and so on.

Jones spoke those words to that effect two summers ago, just as Deflategate was settling as a permanent resident at urbandictionary.com: “Scandal revolving around deflating a football to give a team an edge in the game. The football equivalent of Watergate.”

So you take Jones’ comments from two years ago, couple them with his “furious” response to Goodell’s latest decision and voila: Jones is a Hall of Fame hypocrite. As opposed to an ordinary, garden-variety Pro Football Hall of Famer, which he became last weekend.

But let’s not make this about Deflategate because it’s not. Not even close. Besides, if anyone around here wants to examine some questionable comments that have escaped the lips of Mr. Jerry Jones, there’s no need to rewind the tape all the way to 2015.

Rewinding the tape just five months, to this past March, will do nicely. That’s when Jones, speaking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine, dismissed the league’s investigation into the Ezekiel Elliott case with such flippancy that it makes me wonder if he shouldn’t be suspended for a game or two as well. These are the four words that sum up everything that is wrong with the way we (still) treat cases of domestic violence in professional sports: “There is just nothing.”

Now it’s all the rage these days for people in power to dismiss ongoing investigations as witch hunts. But you’d think we had evolved to a sufficient degree, finally, at long last, that we’d be capable of staying out of the way and letting a domestic violence case play put.

But no. When a reporter from the Dallas Morning News quizzed Jones at the combine about the ongoing Elliott investigation, this was the response: “There is just nothing. I know I would have heard about it. I would have the information if there were something. I know that.”

That’s some incredible gall right there. In Jones’ world, the case would be dismissed for no other reason than because he says so, that he knows all the answers, that if something bad had happened he’d . . . “know that.”

This isn’t about guilt or innocence. This is about basic decency. This is about understanding that we should always be alarmed when a man is accused of assaulting a woman. And while it’s a slippery slope to suggest that one type of assault might be more or less heinous than another type of assault, let’s be real: Professional football players are enormously powerful men, and the very nature of what they do for a living has a way of sending some of them into an altered state.

Sometimes the altered state is temporary, sometimes it’s permanent. Either way, all domestic assault charges involving NFL players should be taken very seriously by the league and thoroughly investigated.

This isn’t some silly argument about deflated footballs. This is about women being assaulted. This is real.

And here in the real world, we don’t need the owners of NFL teams banging down a gold-plated gavel and saying, “There is just nothing.”

If this were a chintzy courtroom television show, perhaps Judge Judy could say, “There is just nothing.”

But this isn’t a chintzy courtroom television show, and Judge Jerry needs to keep his mouth shut.

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