Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made waves Sunday when he revealed that if said players decided to sit or kneel during the national anthem.
Many were skeptical about Jones' stance -- if Dak Prescott or Zeke Elliott took a knee, no way he's sitting them for a game. Jones told ESPN's Chris Mortensen, however, that there will be "no exceptions" to his rule because Jones believes that players "need consequences" for disrespecting the flag and the anthem.
"[Jones] said there are no exceptions to this rule or this policy. Any player who disrespects the flag or does not stand for the anthem will not play in the game," Mortensen said. "And if they want to notify the team before the game, hey I'm not going to do this, they can make them inactive. No exceptions -- he started naming Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott. No exceptions, he said, there are no exceptions."
Per Mortensen, Jones explained that "these players have to have a consequence, because they have to answer to their peers."
Jones adamant the policy is in best interest of players, who "need consequences" to stand up to peer pressure— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 9, 2017
Jones believes that it is "in the best interests" of everyone to "honor the flag."
"My job is the Dallas Cowboys. It's in the best interests of the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL and the players ... to honor the flag," Jones told Mortensen.
Jones claims that in the NFL Game Operations Manual there is a portion that suggests how players should behave on the sideline when the anthem is played and that failure to do so can lead to fines, suspensions and even draft picks being docked. He is not wrong.
However, it's worth noting here that the procedure in question is also pretty antiquated, stemming from the Vietnam War. It also says should, meaning that there is a significant amount of wiggle room there. (The NFL has already said players won't be fined or suspended for protesting.)
Jones does not believe that is the case. Guess who reminded Jones about this line in the manual? You'll never guess. OK, you might guess.
Jones emphasized NFL game ops manual several times and then this: "You know who reminded me about the game ops policy? Donald Trump."— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 10, 2017
Jones has now spoken on this matter more than once in the last 48 hours, and spoke up again, per Mortensen, because he believed 49ers kneeled during the anthem warranted further conversation about his policy. 49ers safety Eric Reid .after members of the Colts and
According to his conversation with Mortensen, Jones was hoping the controversy with the anthem would disappearin Arizona. He is apparently still hoping the controversy will go away. But he is probably not helping the cause here. Things were sort of dying down around the anthem situation, up until Sunday afternoon.
When Jones made his comments and Pence decided to take a public stand against NFL players, things heated right back up. The Cowboys, as they are often wont to do, find themselves squarely in the center of a national topic that is actually growing instead of fading away.