If owner Jerry Jones wasn’t clear enough on the Dallas Cowboys’ stance and policy regarding the national anthem Wednesday, executive vice president Stephen Jones left no doubt on Thursday.
During a radio interview on 1310-AM The Ticket, Stephen Jones said there will be no kneeling, raising of the fists or staying in the locker room by any member of the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s not just about being fined; players could pay the ultimate sacrifice if they don’t abide by the team policy, Stephen Jones said.
“If they want to be a Dallas Cowboy, yes,” said Jones when asked if he was confident players will follow the team rule.
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“There’s one way to do it right in our mind, and that’s go toes on the line and stand for the anthem.”
“That’s not an ‘I’ or ‘me’ thing. This is an organizational thing,” Jones further explained. “We feel strongly about it. We don’t think it’s a controversy. We just think that’s the way we do it. Jerry feels strongly about it. I think he’s had a good feel for what our organization should be over 30 years. I think it’s paid off for our players for the most part.”
Jones said the Cowboys will support the social causes of the players. But they don’t believe Sundays during the anthem is the proper forum because that’s when they are part of a team and representing the Cowboys.
“We certainly are supportive of them when they have their personal issues or their personal things that they want to pursue. And we’ll help them pursue them on Tuesdays,” Jones said. “But when you’re wearing the Dallas Cowboy uniform and a Dallas Cowboy helmet and you’re working for the Dallas Cowboys, you check the I and the me at the door and you’re a part of a team. There’s bright lines in terms of our organization.”
Jones said he believes the social protests, started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, are a worthy cause and has no problem supporting players who want to join. The Cowboys just don’t agree with the platform.
“Yes, and we would support that case,” he said. “We just think there’s better ways to do it. We don’t want to get into a lot of dialogue with that, but we will support our players with resources in their pursuit of social injustice. We support that, and we’ll be behind them and support them.”
While the NFL and the NFL Players Association remain in discussions on the league’s anthem policy and how to handle player protests, Jerry Jones remained unequivocal on his team’s stance.
“You know where I stand, our teams know where I stand. That is where we are,” Jerry Jones said in a press conference to open training camp Wednesday in Oxnard. “Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line.”
Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will not support players who choose to remain in the locker room for the national anthem rather than standing on the field.
Jerry Jones’ statement is a departure from what had been a standstill agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association.
After receiving consistent criticism from President Donald Trump throughout last season about players protesting during the anthem, owners voted to approve a new policy that requires players either to stand and “show respect” during the playing of the song or remain in the locker room. Any team that has a player who does not adhere to the rule is subject to a fine from the league.
But last week, the NFL and the NFLPA issued a joint statement saying, “No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”