Report: Jerry Jones gave Supreme Court justice lavish gifts
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cowboys' Jerry Jones gave Supreme Court justice Super Bowl ring and other lavish gifts

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has developed a friendship with a prominent and controversial political figure: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. 

Abbie VanSickle and Steve Eder of The New York Times reported that Jones and Thomas became friends after he appeared in an equal employment PSA—which featured the Cowboys—while he served as EEOC chairman from 1982 to 1990. They've since remained close. Jones gave him a Super Bowl ring, let him fly on his private jet, attend training camp and sit in the owner's box. 

Jones and Thomas are also members of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, a nonprofit celebrating people who've overcome their challenging circumstances. Thomas' connection to this group is why he's under fire.

"But a look at his tenure in the Horatio Alger Association based on more than two dozen interviews, a review of public filings and internal documents shows that Justice Thomas has received benefits," wrote VanSickle and Eder. "They have included major donors to conservative causes with broad policy and political interests and much at stake in Supreme Court decisions, even if they were not directly involved in cases."

Supreme Courts justices can accept gifts but must disclose them if they're worth more than $415. VanSickle and Eder noted that many of Thomas' benefits were "unreported." 

Simply put, NFL owners should not form close relationships with Supreme Court justices because they can influence their decisions.

"The Jones-Thomas connection has become even more relevant now that Thomas' long battle against affirmative action has begun to secure victory in the Supreme Court," wrote NBC Sports Mike Florio. "The potential application of the recent landmark decision of the Supreme Court on affirmative action to private employment could force the NFL to abandon the Rooney Rule." 

Regardless of where you stand politically, the Jones-Thomas friendship should be frowned upon because it can compromise the integrity of an institution that wields enormous power.

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