Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench players who disrespect the American flag during the national anthem.
Shortly after losing 35-31 to the Green Bay Packers, the 74-year-old manager sternly said the National Football League can not give the impression that it tolerates demonstrations “disrespecting the flag.”
The Cowboys boss warned players would not be allowed to play if they appear to protest during the national anthem.
“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period,” Jones said Sunday night. “We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.”
The team stood along the sidelines at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as some players held their right hands over their heart while others bowed their head during the national anthem. At least two players personalized their tribute to the Star Spangled Banner.
Defensive ends Damontre Moore and David Irving raised their fists at the end of the performance, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Moore, formerly of the New York Giants, said he has been raising his fist during the Star Spangled Banner the entire season.
Jones denied knowledge of Moore and Irving’s stunt during the news conference.
The Dallas Cowboys and staff stand on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem before a game against the Green Bay Packers.
He acknowledged that Vice President Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday afternoon after nearly two dozen members of the San Francisco 49ers bent the knee during the anthem.
“He felt that not standing for the flag is disrespectful. I do, too,” Jones told reporters. “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 Trump for his hard stance. The President told Jones the NFL’s game operations manual instructs players to stand for the anthem. The league, however, has not announced plans to punish players.
The entire Cowboys team, including Jones, participated in a variation of the anthem protest. The players and Jones locked arms and took a knee before a Sept. 25 game against the Arizona Cardinals – but not during the national anthem.
The display follows President Trump’s call during an Alabama speech for kneeling athletes to be fired, reigniting former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stand against racial injustices and police brutality in 2016 when he bent the knee during the national anthem.
With News Wire Services