Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he considers the growing number of NFL players who have knelt in silent protest during the national anthem “really disappointing” and he feels “so strongly” players should stand while the song plays.
Jones made the statements last month in an interview with a Dallas sports talk radio station.
“I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have,” Jones said. “I feel very strongly that everyone should save that moment for the recognition of the flag in a positive way, so I like the way the Cowboys do it.”
Jones discussed the silent protests, launched in large part last season by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest the growing problem of police brutality against African Americans.
While Kaepernick has yet to join an NFL team this season, other players have emulated his protests, including at least ten players with the Kansas City Chiefs during a pre-season game.
While neither Jones nor any other NFL owner has come out and explicitly mentioned any league-wide “blackballing” of Kaepernick, Jones has a history of reprimanding players who have either been accused or convicted of violating the law. Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ starting running back, is currently appealing a six-game suspension due to allegations of domestic violence against a former girlfriend.
Other current Cowboys who have been in trouble include:
- LB Damien Wilson: Arrested for aggravated assault at a fireworks show
- CB Nolan Carroll: Arrested for driving while intoxicated
- DE David Irving: Suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy
- DE Randy Gregory: Suspended for a year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy
As far as can be determined, all the players listed above stood during the anthem.