The Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be nearing a confrontation with owner Jerry Jones, with reports that some players are ready to rebel against the owner’s edict that all players must be standing for the national anthem.
While many players in the NFL have been taking on forms of protest during the national anthem — a movement that started with Colin Kaepernick demonstrating against police brutality last season, and exploded this year after President Donald Trump publicly called on owners to fire protesting players — the Cowboys have been something of an exception. After Trump’s initial statements, the team took to its Monday Night Football game with a show of unity that saw all the players plus owner Jerry Jones taking a knee before the national anthem. But other than that, the team has not seen any players take a knee during the anthem.
Jerry Jones has said publicly that he will not tolerate any players taking a knee during the national anthem.
“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play,” Jones declared, via CBS Sports. “Period. We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.”
Some players may be getting ready to test Jones’ stance. This week, Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving hinted that he is planning to test the team owner’s national anthem policy, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that “I have made a call. You’ll just have to wait ’til Sunday.”
Many took that the mean that Irving was planning to take on some kind of demonstration during the national anthem, though the lineman later put out a statement clearing up what he really meant to say.
Though David Irving may not be making any form of demonstration during the national anthem, there are rumors that other members of the Dallas Cowboys might be ready to test their owner. One source close to the team told CBS Sports last week that some players saw Jones’ statement as a direct challenge to them.
“This wasn’t something that was dominating conversations in that locker room up until this week,” an agent who is close to several players on the Cowboys told the outlet. “It wasn’t something guys were really talking about that much, inside the locker room or to their agents. At first, some guys were frustrated by what Jerry said (Sunday), because this hadn’t really been a big issue or distraction for them, and by the middle of the week I know some were pissed. It was almost like he started daring somebody on his team to take a knee. At least that’s how some players started to look at it.”
But while rumors surrounding the Dallas Cowboys indicate that some players may take on Jerry Jones and protest during the national anthem, it is not clear if there are any real plans, and it appears the team has more pressing priorities. Players and coaches have spoken mostly about getting the season back on track after a 2-3 start already has them on the edges of playoff contention.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]