For months, a fake news story has circulated online that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to fire any player who knelt during the National Anthem. Jones himself denied saying it weeks ago, while also stating he believed players should respect the flag and anthem.
On Sunday, Jones essentially made the fake news story true, after he told reporters that any Cowboys player who knelt during the anthem would not play.
Jones told reporters after the game on Sunday “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
The Dallas Cowboys themselves are one of only a handful of teams that have not had a single player kneel during the anthem. Many believe it is because Jones himself issued an edict in the locker room forbidding any player from doing it, although that has not been confirmed.
The closest the team came to any sort of kneeling protest was two weeks ago, when hundreds of other NFL players took a knee during the anthem to protest President Donald Trump. When the Cowboys played, however, Jones joined the team in a walk of solidarity, in which players and coaches were locked arm-in-arm. They took a knee briefly before the anthem, and then stood in unison during it.
The Daily Mail has more about how Jones came to make the statement regarding players riding the bench if they kneel.
They started with his response to a question about Vice President Mike Pence leaving the game in Indianapolis after about a dozen San Francisco players knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner.
‘I know this, we cannot…in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,’ Jones, also the team’s general manager, said after a 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
‘We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.’
The Cowboys knelt arm-in-arm before the national anthem when they played at Arizona two weeks ago, days after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players for anthem protests.
Dallas players, coaches and others, including Jones and his family, were among those in the line in Arizona. All of them stood during the anthem, with arms still locked.
Other than that, Dallas players have stood on the sideline, many with hands over their hearts, during the anthem ever since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling last season in protest of police brutality in the US.
Jones said he wasn’t aware of whether any of his players had raised a fist at the end of the anthem before the Green Bay game.
‘I don’t know about that,’ said Jones, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. ‘But if there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.’
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