Stand for the anthem or sit on the bench – Dallas Cowboys owner warns players

In a reviewed perception following his previous kneel alongside players prior to the national anthem a fortnight ago, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones warned late Sunday that members of his team won’t be allowed to play if they are “disrespectful to the flag”, Fox News reports.

• Jones’ reviewed belief and VP Mike Pence’s walk away drama

Jones comments came after Vice President on Sunday walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game after some San Francisco 49ers kneeled during the national anthem.

Pence said he left the game because he wouldn’t support an event that disrespects the flag or its soldiers.

• Jones’s reviewed belief

When asked about the scenario involving the VP, Jones said, “I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. I know the vice president did leave, because in his opinion the teams were. 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.”

Stating that the vice president should be free to express himself, Jones said, “He felt that not standing for the flag is disrespectful. I do, too”.

The Dallas Cowboys owner expressed his premium over respect for the flag than any potential issues of team unity.

“There is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other. We will not disrespect the flag,” he stressed.

“I don’t know about that,” Jones said, referring to his unawareness of whether any of his players had raised a fist at the end of the anthem before the Green Bay game. “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”.

• Another owner shared Jones’ view

In a similar reaction, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross who had not shown prior concern for the matter, said he changed his view on how his team should handle the national anthem.

Justifying his decision with the president’s belief, Ross said, because Trump made standing for the national anthem about “patriotism,” he evolved the way he looks at the protest, according to the Miami Herald.

Ross now wants all of the Dolphins players to stand for the anthem.

• NFL’s perspective

However, the NFL has stated that, though the game operations manual distributed to teams includes a reference to players standing for the anthem, but it’s a policy and not a rule, hence, it doesn’t plan to punish players over anthem protests.

But Jones says, “The league in mind should absolutely take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag”.

Dallas players and some other NFL teams’ kneeling act or any other gesture different from standing during the anthem was premised on former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s last season kneeling during the national anthem to protest his believed racial injustice in the U.S.

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