While some NFL teams and players having been disrespecting the national anthem to make a political statement, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones won’t be tolerating this behavior before any of the team’s games.
Jones made it clear that his team members will have consequences if they choose to participate disrespect the American flag.
"I know this, we cannot ... in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag," said Jones. "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."
During Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers game, more than 20 of the Niners players kneeled during the national anthem.
Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance and left after the players made the move.
"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us,” tweeted Pence following the game. "While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and National Anthem."
In response to Pence leaving the Sunday Game, the NFL PLayers Association defended the players right to ptrotest.
“It is a source of enormous pride that some of the best conversations about these issues have taken place in our locker rooms in a respectful, civil and thoughtful way that should serve as a model for how all of us can communicate with each other. We should not stifle these discussions and cannot allow our rights to become subservient to the very opinions our Constitution protects. That is what makes us the land of the free and home of the brave," said the NFL PA in a statement.
Jones also made his statements when asked about Pence’s actions at the football game in Indianapolis.
"If it comes between the impression or the perception that we're not standing together, supporting each other or the perception that we're disrespecting the flag, the perception that we're not together will be secondary to not respecting the flag," said Jones. "Respecting the flag is first."
Jones and his team chose to kneel arm-in-arm before the national anthem, but once the “Star-Spangled Banner” started to play, the team respectfully stood.
"We as a team are very much on the page together," said Jones. "We made our expression. I'm very supportive of the team, but under no circumstances will the Dallas Cowboys -- I don't care what happens -- under no circumstances will we as an organization, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognize and honor the flag. Period."
Apparently, Cowboys Damontre Moore and David Irving did raise their fists at the end of the anthem on Sunday’s Packers game. But, Jones was unaware of these actions when asked to comment on the national anthem controversy.
"I don't know about that," Jones 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."
President Donald Trump has urged the NFL to enforce a rule stating that players must stand for the anthem.
This is not specified in the NFL’s game operations manual, which states "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."
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who used to support the National Anthem protest, has a different viewpoint on the protest now. He believes that all NFL players should stand during the National Anthem.
"Trump has made [standing for anthem] about patriotism. It's so important if that's what the country is looking at to look at [the protest] differently,” said Ross. “It’s a different dialogue today. Whenever you’re dealing with the flag, you’re dealing with something different. [the President] has changed that whole paradigm of what protest is. I think it’s incumbent upon the players today, because of how the public is looking at it, to stand and salute the flag.”
Author’s note: Finally, some team owners are speaking up about this issue. Jones’ actions prove that there are other ways to protest without disrespecting the American flag.
Editor's note: I would expect Jerry Jones to be the first, he has shown he has cajones before. A bit late, though.