Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Sunday said the team would not tolerate protests by players that he considers “disrespectful to the flag.”
Speaking after the Cowboys lost 35-31 to the Green Bay Packers on a successful last-minute drive from Aaron Rodgers, Jones said any players who disrespected 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 Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game early after players knelt during the national anthem. In a statement, Pence said he would “not dignify” an event that disrespected the military or the US flag.
President Donald Trump last month said NFL owners should “fire” any player who kneels during the anthem. Trump on Sunday said 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 to them, Jones and the Cowboys linked arms and knelt before the anthem but stood during it. Following the Cowboys’ gesture, Trump said that he spoke with Jones – who donated to Trump’s campaign – and that the team would 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 organization, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognize and honor the flag.”
Kneeling during the anthem was a protest started last season by Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, to raise awareness about police brutality.