CBS Sports is reporting that in a closed-door meeting this week to address the National Anthem protests, only one NFL owner spoke up and said the league should crack down on players who knelt or sat during the anthem.
According to the report by Jason La Canfora, nearly every owner offered no negative feedback or criticism of the player protests, seemingly “signing off” on the practice by offering no resistance. However, Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, insisted that the league do more to end the protests, and demanded that the NFL require players to stand and show respect.
Jones also openly criticized NFL officials, who were conducting the meeting, for not doing more to stop the protests when Colin Kaepernick started them last year. At that point, Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt stood and agreed with Jones’ statement, the only other owner to do so.
More from CBS Sports.
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.
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