The controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem heightened over the weekend after Vice President Pence chose to leave the Colts vs. 49ers game on Sunday when some of the players refused to stand. Now, Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has issued a bold ultimatum to the players in his organization.
If you remember, just two weeks ago, Jones knelt arm-in-arm with his players to protest while the national anthem played. He did so to show solidarity and support for his players. But on Sunday, Jones reversed his stance.
According to Fox News, Jones said that any player who disrespects the flag will not play. Period.
“I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” he said following the game, in which the Cowboys lost 35-31 to the Packers. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand for the flag. So we’re clear.”
When asked about some of the Dallas Cowboys players raising fists during the national anthem, Jones said he wasn’t aware of it. But he reiterated his position.
“I don’t know about that,” he said. “But if there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
Jones’ ultimatum is the strongest one yet taken by an NFL owner on this issue. But he’s not the only owner to speak out. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he has changed his view, saying that he wants his players to stand for the national anthem. During the Dolphins game Sunday, three players remained off to the sideline.
According to the Associated Press, the NFL game operations manual states that how a player addresses the national anthem and stands for it is a matter of policy, not a hard-lined rule. The league has said that it will not punish players who kneel during its playing. Jones voiced his concern over that policy.
“The league in mind should absolutely take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag,” Jones said.
“There is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag. We will be non-supportive of each other,” he added. “We will not disrespect the flag.”
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