On Sunday, the Daily Caller reported that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones became the first NFL owner to announce that he will bench players who disrespect the flag.
“Yeah, I don’t know about that, but if there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag then we will not play. You understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period. Period. We’re going to respect the flag,” Jones told reporters.
“We’re going to respect the flag, and I’m going to create the perception of it. And we have. I’m not aware and wouldn’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not aware of that. . . . We as a team are very much on the page together. We have made our expression that we’re together,” he further said.
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 9, 2017
Jones also addressed news that Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Colts game on Sunday after some 23 players of the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the anthem.
According to NBC Sports:
“I’m saying our vice president of the United States, if in his opinion there’s disrespect of the flag, then he should – he basically should — express himself however he wants to,” Jones said. “He’s got rights, too, so however he wants to do it. He felt that not standing for the flag is disrespectful. I do, too. The league, in my 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 also referred to the game-day operations manual when asked about his conversation with President Trump after the Cowboys took a knee before the national anthem and then rose for it in Arizona in Week 3. The NFL’s game operations manual says: “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country.”
It adds that “failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
The statement from Jones is the strongest from any owner yet. The NFL has a policy about paying respect to the anthem. Though, not necessarily a rule explicitly preventing kneeling. So, Jones is definitely going out on somewhat of a limb, if he attempts to crackdown on future protesters.
Basically, Jerry Jones is saying all the right things, but is technically wrong on the details. Though, as a powerful owner of the league’s richest organization, he’s in a prime spot to go before his fellow owners, and Commissioner Roger Goodell, and get the rules changed.
“Your move, Jerry,” Dylan Gwinn wrote.
The NFL has taken a serious beating over players’ protests this year, and is no longer seen as America’s favorite sport. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact Jones’ actions will have on other owners and the league as a whole.
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