Jerry Jones, owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, said on Wednesday that his players would be required to stand on the field during the playing of the National Anthem before NFL games.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, July 25, Jones said, “Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line,” USA Today reported.
Jones is taking the lead at a time when the NFL and the Players’ Association were at an impasse in formulating a policy for dealing with players protesting during the anthem.
The NFL and the players’ association had released a joint statement on July 19. “No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”
That statement was in response to the Miami Dolphins management telling its players that protesting during the National Anthem would be grounds for suspension.
In May, NFL owners voted on a policy whereby players had the option of taking to the field for the Anthem and standing to “show respect,” to remain in the locker room as a form of protest, or to support teammates who wanted to protest. Teams which allowed players to protest would be subject to fines.
Giants co-owner Steve Tisch and Jets CEO Christopher Johnson announced that they would not punish players who chose to protest during the anthem, despite the temporary agreement.
The two New York teams’ announcements, coupled with the Dolphins’ stated position, make it seem that the May agreement resolved nothing.
Jones told the press conference, “That was put on hold. It did not impact our position, my position, relative to the Cowboys. Our position is real clear: you should stand.”
Player protests have been huge publicity problems for the NFL since they started in 2016, attracting reactions from fans, advertisers, and politicians, including the president.
“Everybody would like for it to go away,” Jones concluded.
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