Prior to the start of Dallas Cowboys training camp, team owner Jerry Jones spoke to the media about a number of topics including the league’s national anthem issue and President Donald Trump’s interest in it.
During the state of team address on Wednesday, July 25, the conversation turned towards the national anthem protests and Jones’ position on it. The 75-year-old told reporters that his team does have a policy on the issue requiring all players to stand.
“I do think this recent effort by the league office and the players association to have discussions … is a worthy effort,” he said. “And that’s what you’re seeing happen right now. But in general, I will speak for one, and everybody knows where we stand, and we stand as a team.”
Jones added that he will not support players who remain in the locker room while the anthem is playing, saying, “Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line.”
Multiple teams including the New York Giants and Jets stated that they will not fine and support players who kneel.
Last season, Jones and his entire team locked arms and took a knee before the “Star Spangled Banner.” They then stood arm-in-arm when it was being sung.
The Cowboys owner and general manager also admitted that while he agrees with Trump that everyone should stand and be present for the anthem, he does not like how much the president brings up the issue.
“His interest in what we’re doing is problematic, from my chair, and I would say in general the owners’ chair,” Jones said. “It’s unprecedented if you really think about it. But like the very game itself, that’s the way it is and we’ll deal with it … We feel strongly about how we deal with it and we’ll do so accordingly, but, yes, I, like everybody, would like for it to go away.”
Trump has spoken about the anthem demonstrations many times and suggested that players be punished for their protests. On Friday, he tweeted, “The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again — can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
At the spring owners’ meetings, the NFL announced a new policy that every player must be on the sideline and stand for the anthem. Last week though, the league and NFL Players Association released a joint statement regarding the issue and explained that discussions about the rules are ongoing.
“The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue,” the statement read. “In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy.”
Although it’s unclear at this time if any type of protests will continue during the anthem, it’s likely that the president will continue to tweet and make statements on the matter if they do.