OXNARD, Calif. – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Wednesday stoked flames of the national anthem controversy that continues to smolder as NFL training camps get underway.
During the annual “State of the Team” press conference Wednesday in Oxnard, Jones firmly reiterated his position on player protests during the anthem: The Cowboys have a policy in place that requires players to stand.
“As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, you know where I stand,” he said. “The team knows where I stand.”
Jones has been among the more outspoken league owners on the topic, which began in 2016 with Colin Kaepernick and has only become more polarizing with comments made by President Trump denouncing the protests.
The NFL implemented a new policy in May that requires players on the field to stand during the national anthem but gives them the option to remain in the locker room. Last week, though, the league reversed course, saying in a joint statement with the NFL Players Association that “no new rules would be made or enforced” on the anthem topic.
The NFLPA had filed a grievance against the league, saying the revised policy “infringes on players’ rights.” At the center of the controversy was the league reserving the right to fine teams for the actions of their players. Teams were given the choice to discipline individual players.
Jones, who hadn’t spoken publicly on the policy, said Wednesday that he wouldn’t support a player who elected to stay in the locker room during the anthem.
“No,” Jones said. “Our policy is that you stand for the anthem, toe on the line.”
He said the league’s vote on the anthem policy didn’t affect the Cowboys’ policy.
He called the efforts by the league office and the NFL Players Association to come to an agreement “a worthy effort” and acknowledged that “everybody would like for it to go away.”
The Cowboys won’t cut ties with Papa John’s
Don’t expect the Cowboys to follow the lead of other pro sports organizations – including the Texas Rangers – that are distancing themselves from or cutting ties with Papa John’s Pizza in the wake of former CEO John Schnatter’s use of a racial slur.
Jones is a partner on more than 100 Papa John’s franchises in Texas, and said the Cowboys are a “big face” of the company.
“Some teams that have addressed the Papa John’s issue by distancing themselves do not have the same relationship that the Cowboys have with Papa John’s business in Texas,” Jones said.
“It’s very unfortunate for the company, and unfortunate for John […] But the bottom line is, we own those stores. It’s not an endorsement.”