The Dallas Cowboys are off to a rough start this season, and the situation could soon be getting worse with reports of turmoil over an edict from Jerry Jones that players must stand for the national anthem or risk being benched.
The Cowboys were picked by many to win the NFC East, but have stumbled to a 2-3 start and have been plagued with inconsistency. Now, the locker room could be erupting from within as players have privately expressed unhappiness with the team owner’s rule regarding the national anthem.
This week, Jones said that he expects the Cowboys players to stand for the national anthem and will not tolerate any forms of protest.
“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period,” he said (via Yahoo Sports). “We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.”
Players are already unhappy about the policy. As Yahoo Sports reported, several have spoken anonymously to reporters, saying that they feel betrayed by the team’s owner. While the players have not said if they plan on going forward with protests, it is clear that Jones’ statement has created a rift in the Cowboys’ locker room.
The national anthem protests started last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities. The protest grew to a handful of other players and blew up this year after Donald Trump said publicly that owners should fire any player who refuses to stand for the national anthem.
The Cowboys took part in a show of unity after Trump’s remarks, locking arms and taking a knee before the national anthem — with Jerry Jones taking part alongside the players. But the subsequent statements from Jerry Jones could lead to major turmoil within the team and across the league, rumors surrounding the Cowboys indicate. Yahoo Sports speculated that the team is on the verge of a much larger controversy.
“And all it would take is for one player, or multiple players, to challenge Jones on his edict to blow this up into a much bigger controversy, perhaps the biggest we’ve had since Kaepernick first sat for the anthem in August of 2016,” the report noted. “Already a labor union has challenged Jones. Just imagine the fallout if a player knelt and was cut. Now imagine if it was one of the Cowboys’ true stars.”
The fact that Jerry Jones is one of the league’s most active owners, giving frequent interviews and serving as the face of the team, makes the situation that much more difficult, the report noted.
While there is not yet any turmoil on the field or off, the Dallas Cowboys are likely looking to avoid any more distractions and focus on turning around the season.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]