Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Sunday that the team will not tolerate players who “disrespect the flag” or protest the national anthem.
Speaking after the Cowboys lost 35-31, thanks to a last-minute drive from Aaron Rodgers, Jones said any players who disrespect the flag “will not play.”
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones said (via ESPN). “We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
According to ESPN, the topic was raised after Vice President Mike Pence left the Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game early on Sunday after players knelt during the national anthem. In a statement, Pence said he will not dignify an event that disrespects the military and the US.
The event comes after President Donald Trump said NFL owners should “fire” any player that kneels during the anthem. Trump on Sunday said that he told Pence to leave early if any players knelt.
On September 25, in the wake of Trump’s comments and widespread protest around the NFL, Jones and the Cowboys linked arms and knelt before the anthem, but stood during the anthem. Following the Cowboys’ gesture, Trump said he spoke to Jones — who donated to Trump’s campaign — and that the team will stand for the anthem going forward.
“We made our expression,” Jones said on Sunday. “I’m very supportive of the team, but under no circumstances will the Dallas Cowboys — I don’t care what happens — under no circumstances will we as an organisation, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognise and honour the flag.”
Kneeling during the anthem was a protest started last season by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness about police brutality and social injustice. Many other players who have since knelt have said the protest is not meant to disrespect the military but to raise awareness for social injustice.
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