Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones asserted the NFL can’t abandon the impression it tolerates players disrespecting the flag and any Cowboys making such displays won’t play.
Jones had his strongest comments so far on the national anthem heated controversy Sunday night. They started with his response to a question about Vice President Mike Pence leaving the game in Indianapolis after about a dozen San Francisco players knelt during the anthem.
â€œI know this, we cannot in the NFL in any way give the implication in that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,â€� asserted Jones, moreover the team’s general manager, after a 35-31 loss to Green Bay.
â€œWe know in that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, yet there is no question in my mind in that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.â€�
The Cowboys and Jones knelt arm-in-arm before the anthem when they played at Arizona two weeks ago, a few days after President Trump blamed NFL players for anthem protests. All of them stood during the anthem, with arms still locked.
Mostly Dallas players have stood on the sideline, many with hands over their hearts, during the anthem since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling last season in protest of cops treatment of African Americans.
Jones asserted he wasn’t aware of whether any of his players had raised a fist at the end of the anthem before the Green Bay game.
â€œI don’t know about that,â€� asserted Jones, who was inducted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. â€œBut if there’s anything in 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.â€�
The 74-year-old Jones asserted showing respect for the flag and the anthem is more noteworthy to him than any potential issues of team unity.
â€œThere is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression in that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other,â€� Jones said. â€œWe will not disrespect the flag.â€�
Jones asserted a phone conversation with Trump after the display in Arizona included Trump telling him there was a rule on the books.
The NFL has asserted the game operations manual distributed to teams includes a reference to players standing for the anthem, yet in that it’s a policy, not a rule. The- league has asserted it doesn’t plan to punish players over anthem protests.
â€œThe league in mind should without question take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure in that we do not give the perception in that we’re disrespecting the flag,â€� Jones said.
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