Cowboys owner Jerry Jones refuses to take a knee when it comes to his stance on the wave of national anthem protests that have swept across the NFL.
The 75-year-old Cowboys owner said Sunday he is certain the large number of anthem protests in recent weeks is a detriment to the NFL.
“There is no question,” Jones said when asked if the protests are hurting the league, per the Dallas Morning News’ Brandon George. “There is no question the league is suffering negative effects from these protests.”
Jones, a close friend of Donald Trump’s, has publicly stated in the past he believes every player should stand for the national anthem.
No Cowboys player has protested during the anthem this season so far. Defensive end David Irving, however, has briefly raised his fist shortly after the anthem concluded in recent weeks. Irving continued to do so Sunday prior to the Cowboys’ win over the 49ers.
David Irving raises his fist after the national anthem.
“I know that he was very deliberate during the anthem and of course that’s the issue with me,” Jones said when asked on Irving continuing to raise his fist at the end of the anthem, per George. “I’m very proud of the way they all handled themselves.”
Jones previously kneeled and locked arms momentarily with the entire Cowboys team in a show of unity before the national anthem prior to the Cowboys’ game against the Cardinals on Monday Night Football in late September. The Cowboys and Jones, however, then rose and stood during the actual playing of the national anthem.
Jones said his primary issue with the large number of national anthem protests is the potential harmful effects it can have when it comes to advertisers and sponsors of the league. The longtime Cowboys owner believes this potential loss of viewership and revenue will ultimately hurt the league.
The NFL has dropped 10 percent in popularity among U.S. adults since 2012, according to a Gallup poll published on Oct. 13.
Jerry Jones (c.) and Cowboys players lock arms and kneel momentarily before standing for the national anthem.
“I care about a lot of things, but our ability to be substantive is based on having a strong NFL, a league that people really are interested in and want to watch,” Jones said, per George.
In terms of his team specifically, Jones added Cowboys’ sponsors have “concern” regarding anthem protests.
NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell recently met with players and union representatives to discuss a number of issues, including national anthem protests.
Goodell announced Tuesday while he believes players “should” stand for the national anthem he would not institute a rule that mandates they do so.