Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it perfectly clear what his stance was on the national anthem protests.
The owner reportedly met with his players and explained that if they were to continue to kneel then they wouldn’t play in the game.
And now ESPN is claiming that Jones had ulterior motives for his decision.
Several weeks ago, Jones joined his players on the field and linked arms with them during the national anthem.
But after that, it was clear that Jones thought enough was enough.
With the drastically declining NFL ratings, the owners are understandably fed up with these protests because it’s affecting their bottom line, and Jones was the first to make his players respect the flag.
Jones gathered his players in the locker room and reportedly said,
“I want you to stand for the flag and be respectful for the flag, but be cognizant that the fans have had a negative reaction to those who have sat during the national anthem.”
That negative viewpoint does affect the game. It affects everyone from players to owners to teams.
Jerry Jones wanted his players to hear directly from him as to why he wanted them to stand.
“It’s hard to keep things a secret, in today’s NFL. It’s even harder if you work for Jerry Jones, an owner who likes to be seen in the mix of all things important.
Therefore, one assumed it wouldn’t be too long before reports of what was said at the Cowboys’ closed-door anthem discussion came to light.
And, as expected, it didn’t take long at all.
According to Todd Archer of ESPN, a source informed him that Jones told his team that the reason he spoke so forcefully about taking away playing time from players who protested, was because he wanted to “play the bad guy and deflect attention from the players.”
In addition, Jones sought to emphasize the business side of the anthem protests by citing falling ratings and sponsorship implications, reminding the players that their decision to protest could hit them in the wallet.
While some will say that Jones’ reference to money proves that his concerns are far more financial than they are patriotic, one must also remember who Jones is speaking to.
He’s addressing NFL players, a large percentage of whom would love to continue their anthem protests indefinitely.
How is Jones supposed to appeal to the patriotism of people who don’t have any?
Money and the long-term viability of the league, are the only things that Jones and the players truly have in common.
Jones’ claim that he made his comments in order to take heat off the players, also rings true. At least in the sense that Jones sought to draw attention to himself, something he has done often enough in his public life that he could write volumes of “How to Draw Attention to Yourself,” tutorials.
However, given the wild unpopularity of the anthem protests, it’s far more likely, at least in eyes of the fans, that Jones has turned himself into the hero, not the villain.”
Thankfully it wasn’t just a business decision, it was also a love-for-his-country decision.