NFL team owners passed a rule in May that gave players the option of remaining in the locker room during the national anthem. Last week, the league and the players union announced a freeze on that rule while the two sides try to come to an agreement on the issue.
None of that seems to matter to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who told reporters Wednesday that his team has its own rule when it comes to the anthem.
“Our policy is you stand for the anthem, toe on the line,” Jones said as his team opened training camp.
In other words, his players won’t have any other option but to stand on the sideline during the anthem. Jones told reporters the team has always had a written policy for how players are to conduct themselves while the anthem plays before games.
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a movement when he refused to stand during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice. Several other players followed his lead, taking a knee or a seat on the sideline.
The protests had largely subsided last season until President Trump started talking and tweeting against the practice. Jones acknowledged Wednesday that the president’s remarks weren’t helping the situation.
“His interest in what we’re doing is problematic,” Jones said. “Unprecedented, if you really think about it ... but like the very game itself, that’s the way it is. We feel very strongly about how we deal with it. Of course, I’d like, everybody would like, it to go away.”
Jones’ comments came a day after Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown made a similar observation about the president’s involvement in the anthem issue.
“I think that worked against us,” Brown said at his team’s annual preseason luncheon. “I think it stirred the pot, it got people looking at it unfavorably, and he has worked that issue for, I suppose, political reasons.”