Ezekiel Elliott is latest Cowboys player to say he will stand for national anthem

Days after Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones made it clear that he wants his players to stand for the national anthem, running back Ezekiel Elliott weighed in on the latest development in a controversy that dates back two years.

"Us as a team, we chose to stand together for the national anthem," Elliott said, via the Dallas Morning News. "It was our decision. I think it just shows our culture. It shows that we have unity. We're going to stand as one. That's not knocking anyone else who may choose to kneel during the national anthem. But we're the Dallas Football Cowboys, America's Team. We stand for the national anthem."

Elliott's comments come a day after Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said during a radio interview that players should stand during the anthem "if they want to be a Dallas Cowboy."

Elliott wasn't alone in his thinking; teammates Dak Prescott, Taco Charlton and Sean Lee all said they would be standing too.

"I never protest," Prescott said. "I never protest during the anthem, and I don't think that's the time or the venue to do so. The game of football has always brought me such peace, and I think it does the same for a lot of people -- a lot of people playing the game, a lot of people watching the game, a lot of people who have any impact of the game -- so when you bring such controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game it takes away. It takes away from that, it takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people.

"For me, I'm all about making a change and making a difference, and I think this whole kneeling and all of that was just about raising awareness and the fact that we're still talking about social injustice years later, I think we've gotten to that point. I think we've proved, we know the social injustice, I'm up for taking the next step whatever the next step may be for action and not just kneeling. I've always believed standing up for what I believe in, and that's what I'm going to continue to do."

"He's the boss. That's above my pay grade," Charlton said.

And Lee added: "I think I'm going to do what I've always done and stand. Obviously, I believe that there's social injustice that needs to change in this country that's very serious. But I also believe that I'm going to stand for the anthem, because I feel like I'm blessed to be an American, and I'm blessed to have two grandfathers who served."

Last September, following league-wide player protests in response to President Donald Trump's comments, Jones took a knee and linked arms with his players prior to the national anthem in the Cowboys-Cardinals game, but he has since made it clear that he wants his players standing for the anthem.

"If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play," Jones said last October. "Period. We're going to respect the flag and I'm going to create the perception of it. ... 

"We cannot in anyway give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag," he continued. "We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag."

Jones, who spoke to Trump about the anthem issues last season, did concede earlier this week that the president isn't helping things when he takes to Twitter to blast the NFL or offer his own anthem polices, calling such commentary "problematic" for the league, and adding, "Everybody would like for it to go away."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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