Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems to be fed up with the disrespectful national anthem protests infesting the NFL. Jones told the media on Sunday, that if his players don’t stand for the anthem, then they won’t play. However, now the NFL player’s union is countering Jones’ comment and insisting that anthem protests are “conscientious” and “respectful.”
In recent comments to the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys owner seemed to make a definitive statement against the protests.
“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,” Jones said.
“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,” Jones added.
Strangely, Jones claimed he wasn’t aware that two of his players had been seen raising fists towards the end of the anthem. Still, Jones’ comments are the strongest comments to date from an NFL owner about the anthem protests.
The comments spurred the National Football Players Association (NFLPA) to speak out in a statement posted Sunday to its website.
NFL players are union members and part of the labor movement that has woven the fabric of America for generations. Our full statement: pic.twitter.com/FMOXvz3G7h
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) October 9, 2017
The NFLPA insisted that the anthem protests are acts of pure Americanism, are conscientious, and respectful:
NFL players are union members and part of the labor movement that has woven the fabric of America for generations. Our men and their families are also conscientious Americans who continue to be forces for good through our communities and some have decided to use their platform to peacefully raise awareness to issues that deserve attention.
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.
The statement ended asserting that the protests should not be stifled:
“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,” the statement concluded.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.