Jerry Jones: "If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period. We're going to respect the flag and I'm going to create the perception of it."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 9, 2017
Jerry Jones: "We cannot in anyway give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. 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— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 9, 2017
Jerry Jones: "But let me be real, real clear the thing that the National Football League needs to do and the Dallas Cowboys are going to do is stand for the flag. We’re going to do that. It’s the rules that are on the book in my opinion."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 9, 2017
The Dallas Morning News’ Brandon George noted that two Cowboys players — Damontre Moore and David Irving — both raised fists at the end of the national anthem, with Moore having done it all year.
The NFLPA released a statement that was meant to be a response to Vice President Mike Pence but that also ended up addressing Jones’ comments :
On Wednesday, Orlando Scandrick wouldn’t answer national anthem related questions but made it seem fairly clear how he felt:
Upon the media entering the #Cowboys locker room, Orlando Scandrick was loudly playing YG & Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT (F*ck Donald Trump)”.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) October 11, 2017
Orlando Scandrick pulled out some pink cleats to support breast cancer awareness. “We’re *allowed* to support that,” Scandrick said.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) October 11, 2017
Orlando Scandrick offered "no comment" to seven national anthem related questions toward him.— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) October 11, 2017
Jones’ comments come a couple of weeks after President Donald Trump said at a rally in Alabama that NFL owners who see players “disrespecting the flag” should say “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.”
Trump’s comments led to many demonstrations prior to games during Week 3, some in protest of inequality and oppression against people of color, some in unity, and some in which players didn’t come out for the anthem at all.
The Cowboys kneeled before the anthem prior to their Week 3 Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals. After that game, head coach Jason Garrett explained the team — players, coaches, and ownership — collectively decided it was the best thing to do.
After that demonstration, Jones said “I can’t say enough about the understanding and the awareness of our team, and these young men that basically said, ‘you know, that makes sense.’ There’s no need for us to talk about unity and equality and have 60 percent of this country mad at you because you’re not perceived to be honoring the flag. And this was a way to do both.”
Eric Reid, who was one of the first to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the anthem, explained that it’s not meant as a sign of disrespect to the flag in his New York Times op-ed. Kaepernick initially sat, but after a meeting with Nate Boyer, that changed.
This is how Reid explained it:
I approached Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platform, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to speak for those who are voiceless.
After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former NFL player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.
It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag, and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.
Jones’ statement comes the same day that Vice President Pence left the Colts game, after 49ers players kneeled for the anthem. Reid called Pence’s action a “PR stunt” because he knew if there was a team that was going to kneel, it was the 49ers.
The Cowboys have yet to have a player kneel during the anthem since Kaepernick started protesting police brutality, inequality, and the oppression that people of color in the United States face in 2016.