Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said emphatically that his players will stand for the national anthem and not disrespect the flag, and if they do, the player or players will not play.
Jones and the rest of the team knelt arm-in-arm before the national anthem before a game against the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago, days after President Trump reignited the anthem-protest controversy.
Jones was asked by Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, about two Cowboys players who raised their fists at the end of the anthem. Jones said he did not see the raised fists. But then, Jones made a definitive statement about how he wants to see his team to handle the anthem from now on.
According to Pro Football Talk, Jones said, “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. Period.”
“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.”
While hundreds of NFL players have taken a knee during the national anthem in recent weeks, no Cowboys have taken part. Defensive lineman David Irving and Damontre Moore did raise their fist on Sunday as the song was ending, but they remained standing.The team stood along the sidelines at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as some players held their right hands over their heart while others bowed their head during the national anthem. At least two players personalized their tribute to the Star Spangled Banner.
The topic was raised after Vice President Mike Pence left Sunday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers after more than 20 Niners knelt during the national anthem. Jones cited a recent phone call with President Trump for his hard stance. The President told Jones the NFL’s game operations manual instructs players to stand for the anthem.
The league, however, has not announced plans to punish players.