Dallas, TX – Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones made it very clear after Sunday’s NFL game that any player “who disrespects the flag” will not play.
In a press conference after the game, which the Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers 35-31, Jones said, “I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag.”
“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 up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
Jones’ strong response came after he was asked about Vice President Mike Pence walking out of the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers Sunday game after multiple players kneeled during the national anthem, according to Fox News.
His response also came after he and staff members very publicly knelt with his team, arm-in-arm, two weeks ago prior the national anthem at the Arizona Cardinals game. Jones wanted to make it clear that they were kneeling before the national anthem, and not during it.
This response was two days after President Trump’s remarks, where he stated that owners who see players disrespecting the flag should say “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.”
Since then, Dallas players have stood on the sideline for the national anthem, many with hands over their hearts.
Jones said that showing respect for the flag and the anthem is “more important” to him than “any potential issues of team unity.”
He 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. We will not disrespect the flag.”
When asked if any Dallas players raised a fist at the end of the anthem, Jones said,”I don’t know about that. 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 is not the only NFL team owner to take a strong stance on what his team would be allowed to do during the national anthem.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he changed his mind about how he looked at the protest after President Trump’s remarks about “patriotism”, and that he wants every Miami player to stand for the anthem. On Sunday, three Dolphins players remained off the sideline during the national anthem.
The NFL said that the manual has a reference to players standing for the anthem, but that it is a policy and not a rule.
Jones wants that to change. He said, “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,”
At one time, the NFL was the most popular sport in this country. A recent poll showed that it is the least liked sport of any top professional or college sport, according to Townhall. This is the second poll in recent weeks that show fans are leaving the NFL, apparently the result of disgust over ‘acts of perceived respect’ towards the flag and the country.