Jerry Jones is directly warning Dallas Cowboys players that if they refuse to stand for the national anthem, they run the risk of not being allowed to take the field for his team.
Following the Cowboys’ 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the 74-year-old Jones went on the offensive, insisting that the National Football League can ill-afford to give the impression that it tolerates disrespecting of the flag.
“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period,” Jones told the New York Daily News. “We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.”
Jones’ fiery declaration came on the same day Vice President Mike Pence walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium moments into the game after several San Francisco 49ers players kneeled during the anthem before their game against the Indianapolis Colts.
“He felt that not standing for the flag is disrespectful. I do, too,” Jones said. “The league in my mind should absolutely take the rules we have on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag.”
Jones cited a recent phone call with President Donald Trump for his increasingly hard-line stance on the issue. Earlier this season, he joined the entire Cowboys team in locking arms and taking a knee before a September 25 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jones’ vow of not allowing players to play rings similar to the tone Trump took during a recent rally in Alabama, where he clamored athletes who kneel during the anthem “should be fired,” reigniting the debate that has raged ever since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s began kneeling during the anthem last season as a form of protest against racial injustices and police brutality.
On the day of the Arizona game, several media outlets have reported Trump called Jones at least four times while he was still in the locker room to implore him not to allow his team to kneel.
CNN has reported Jones donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee during his 2016 campaign run.
[Featured Image by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images]