Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones had had enough of the anti-American National Anthem protests.
He knew the unpatriotic displays were bad for the country, and bad for business, so he mandated his players stand.
Since the Cowboys had a bye last week, people were eager to see how his players would respond to his ultimatum this week, and this is what they did.
Every member of the Cowboys stood for the anthem while several members of the San Francisco 49ers, the originators of the protests, knelt once again.
And although Jones was pleased with how his team conducted themselves, he still wants the protests to stop league-wide because they are hurting the bottom line.
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones’ concerns about the protests during the national anthem are not just about what is good for his team but what is good for the NFL.
“There is no question the league is suffering negative effects from these protests,” Jones said.
Two weeks ago Jones said if any of his players “disrespect the flag,” during the national anthem that they would be benched. At a league meeting in New York, owners and players had open dialogue about the protests but no change was made to the league’s policy that does not mandate players to stand during the anthem.
The Cowboys have not had a player protest during the national anthem. On Sunday, defensive end David Irving briefly raised his fist at the end of the anthem, like he had Oct. 8 against the Green Bay Packers.
The NFL’s issue with players protesting during the national anthem dominated the conversation at the league owners meetings to the point that other league business, including Roger Goodell’s extension, has been delayed.
“I know that he was very deliberate during the anthem and of course that’s the issue with me,” Jones said after the Cowboys’ 40-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. “I’m very proud of the way they all handled themselves.”
Irving stood during the anthem with a fist over his heart. He quickly raised his fist at the end. Damontre Moore, who raised his fist at the end of the anthem against the Packers as well, did not raise his fist Sunday. Instead he gave a quick salute.
Irving said, “I wouldn’t want to disrespect the anthem; wait until it’s over.”
“I’ve been asked that for the past three weeks, my statement is my statement,” Irving said. “That was a statement, nothing really to say about it. If you are in a position I am in or everyone else in this locker room is, you have to watch what you say, play things as smart as you can. I’m not going to speak on this, certain things are better off left unsaid.”
The Niners had seven players kneel during the anthem, which drew a reaction from President Donald Trump via Twitter on Monday morning.
Jones said he was aware of the protests San Francisco has had for more than a year but was not concerned with what the 49ers did.
“My interests is how the Cowboys are conducting themselves as players both on and off, again I just can’t tell you how proud I am of the players,” Jones said.
Jones’ interests also focus on the success of the NFL. He said he has heard from sponsors about the protests.
“Our ability to be substantive is based on having a strong NFL, a league that people are really interested in and want to watch and want to watch the games,” Jones said.
“At all times, if I am anything, I am first and foremost a proponent of making the NFL strong. Making us have as many people watching the game as we can and watching in light of what we are doing and that’s playing football. If all this makes you stronger to represent messages, let’s don’t do it in a way that tears down the strength of the NFL.”
Jones understands that the time has come for the protests to end. The longer they extend, the worse it gets for the league, which ultimately will fall on the players.
The owners are all billionaires who own teams as hobbies. The players depend on a strong league. They’re taking money out of their own pockets without even realizing it.
They should all listen to Jerry Jones. It isn’t personal, it’s just good business.