The party is apparently over for NFL protesters.
On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said unequivocally that any player who disrespects the flag will not be playing.
Jones was responding, after the Cowboys’ 35-31 loss the the Green Bay Packers, to a question about Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to leave yesterday’s Colts-49ers game in Indianapolis as it was beginning, right after several San Francisco 49ers players took a knee during the national anthem.
According to Jones:
“I know this, we cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
Jones also added:
“There is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other. We will not disrespect the flag. … If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
It should be noted that Jones was not the only NFL owner who took a stand yesterday. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Earlier in the day, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who in the past has vocally supported his players’ right to protest, said (via the Miami Herald), “I think it’s incumbent upon players today if that’s how the public is looking at it, is to stand and salute the flag.”
One source has claimed that players from seven NFL teams have contacted him to tell him they have been told they have to stand for the Anthem, but it should be noted that that source has serious credibility issues, e.g. lying to hide the fact that he is white.
Players from 7 @NFL teams have contacted me the past 24 hours to tell me they have been told they have to stand for the Anthem.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 9, 2017