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Gene Wang
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Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Don't Kick Jones

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As much as some Dallas Cowboys haters find it expedient to blame Jerry Jones for the new stadium's scoreboard issue, the owner gets a pass on this one. The inconvenient truth is the center-hanging scoreboard meets NFL regulations, so lay this flap at the feet of the league.

The scoreboard at the new Texas Stadium hangs 90 feet in the air, five feet higher than league specifications. The height of the scoreboard came into question on Saturday night, when Tennessee punter A.J. Trapaso's kick hit it during the third quarter. That prompted a redo of the play once officials figured out what had happened.

"It is an issue," Titans Coach Jeff Fisher, who is also co-chair of the NFL's competition committee, told reporters. "Something has to get worked out."

Yes it does, but it shouldn't have to come directly out of Jones's pocket. Asking the Cowboys' owner to shell out presumably hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix a part of the stadium that conforms to league rules would be tantamount to asking the consumer to pay for faulty brakes approved by auto inspectors.

If Jones wants to alter the height of the scoreboard, that's up to him. If the league mandates Jones raise it, then it should provide for the cost of the project.

By Gene Wang  |  August 26, 2009; 6:44 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Gene Wang , Jerry Jones , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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That's the first reasonable comment I've heard on this issue in the time since it happened.

Posted by: fgoodwin | August 26, 2009 1:28 PM

I understand the sentiment, but your argument is not quite whole. Minimum..repeat minimum standards are set by many agencies, including the US govt. But, if a manufacturer KNOWS that his product will result in "injury" and fails to correct the issue, they are fully accountable. Failure to correct the deficiency is a depraved indifference for which they are legally liable. Jones KNEW...he tested it for himself and saw that it could be hit, but he left it at that height...he therefore has an obligation to correct it, regardless if it meets the MINIMUM standard.

Posted by: hoosier01 | August 26, 2009 5:51 PM

RE: hoosier01
Thanks for the comment, and you make a good point, but I counter by saying this isn't a case where Jones built the scoreboard based on a minimum standard, as you mentioned. The scoreboard in fact hangs five feet higher than the minimum required height.

Posted by: Gene Wang | August 26, 2009 6:13 PM

-If I travel the government mandated speed limit, and hit someone, the government is responsible?

-If I make a light fixture that meets all government regulations, but starts a fire due to faulty wiring and burns down someone's house, the government must pay?

BTW, hanging it five feet higher than the required height implicity absolves the NFL - once you ignore the standard, you're admitting you knew or suspected it was not sufficient.

Let's be real, the only thing the NFL is on the hook for here is to make rules for what to do if the ball hits stuff that hangs at 90 feet - since their rules allow them to have things sitting there.

Posted by: kemurph | August 26, 2009 9:54 PM

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