Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has gone to great lengths in recent weeks to ensure his voice was heard publicly about his displeasure over any NFL player not standing for the national anthem, and while he slipped out of last week's owner's meetings in New York without speaking to the media, league sources said he was quite vocal during Wednesday's session.
Jones was the only owner to rail against the handful of players who are still regularly kneeling, standing or staying in the locker room during the playing of the anthem, the sources said, pronouncing his disagreement with how the NFL is policing the matter before all 32 teams. On Tuesday, when a select group of owners and league officials met with players and NFLPA leadership, there were no dissenting voices or debate about how the ongoing protests were being handled. But that changed on the second day of the meetings, with Jones expressing his feelings several times in what sources describe as a "firm and forceful" manner, but restrained and not over the top.
Jones made it clear he believes the language in the league's game-day manual should be changed to stipulate punishments for any player who does not comply with standing for the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." As one executive present in the meeting put it: "Jerry made it clear he wants that enforced and wants the NFL to compel all players to stand." However, Jones did not stipulate that he wanted the matter brought up for debate, there was no discussion of actually altering any NFL policies, no other owners supported Jones's stance during the meeting, and most of the time at these sessions was spent discussing how to move "from protest to progress," rather than focusing on the protests themselves.
However, when Jones expressed his concern about how the league office had handled the matter, asserting they should have been more proactive in trying to address the mounting protests dating back to when Colin Kaepernick first began sitting and kneeling last summer, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt took the floor and agreed with Jones, sources said. Hunt did not express any feelings about the protests themselves, but did concur on Jones' criticisms of the NFL headquarters in New York and their response to them.
Furthermore, Jones did not raise any concerns about the league's ongoing efforts to support players in their communities, both financially and otherwise, as all owners seem supportive of the ongoing dialogue between the NFL and NFLPA on matters of social awareness, injustice and racism.