A TMZ video released on Wednesday appears to show Dean Blandino, the NFL's head of officiating, on a party bus with Stephen Jones, the executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys, and son of Jerry Jones. On Thursday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports chatted with some executives from other NFL teams and they weren't too happy with the video. They weren't happy at all.
Here are just a couple of the quotes published by La Canfora:
"So, should I have my owner take him to a strip club when he visits us?" asked one team official, hypothetically. "Is that how it works? We like Dean a lot, but let me tell you, if that was him out with (the owner of a rival of the club this official works for), my owner would be going nuts. This just can't happen."
An official from another club said: "It's total hypocrisy. This is a league where some people are above the law, but if you are a coach or a player or a low-level team employee, look out -- they'll throw the book at you. They take away your pension. I'll give Stephen credit, at least they took a bus. (Colts owner Jim) Irsay should have got a bus a long time ago. Have they gotten around to disciplining him yet?"
Blandino was named the NFL's vice president of officiating in Feb. 2013 after a couple decades with the league. Originally added as an officiating intern in 1994, Blandino worked his way up to director of the NFL's instant replay program before eventually taking over as the head of officiating in 2013.
While it's unlikely that partying with a Cowboys executive will actually mean preferential treatment for the club via the rulebook, it isn't the best look and certainly represents a conflict of interest. One that left several executives from other teams angry enough to rant to La Canfora.
Neither Blandino nor the NFL have released a statement or spoken to the media yet about the TMZ video.