ESPN's Wilbon Compares Jerry Jones to Slaveowner Over NFL Protests

Getty Image

Getty Image

Following widespread protests in the wake of Trump's comments, Jones and the Cowboys knelt before the anthem but then stood during it.

Jerry Jones, the charismatic oil billionaire and owner of the Dallas Cowboys, performed something of a volte-face on Monday night, telling ESPN that his players "need consequences" should they feel the desire to kneel during the national anthem.

On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated that he would bench players who didn't stand for the national anthem before games. With his history and this ultimatum, Jones has basically told Cowboys players that he would rather they beat a woman a fraction of their size half to death than stand up for what they believe in. There is, however, a section in the NFL Game Operations Manual that mentions that players "should stand at attention, hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking".

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who turns 75 Friday, was born in Inglewood. While NFL teams are private businesses and not covered by the First Amendment, the use of publicly-funded stadiums and acceptance of government funding for pregame patriotic displays could bring legal liability.

As far as what constitutes "disrespecting the flag", Jones said: "You'll know it when you see it".

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Michael J. Golden, lecturer, trial advocacy program, University of Texas: "In order for professional football teams to be the most competitive they can be, the CBA gives management significant rights to decide who plays and who doesn't - and ultimately who gets cut and who gets kept". "That's not why they're kneeling, but if it were, that would be something that would clearly be a protected activity".

Jones said Sunday, "If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won't play".

"This is a workplace issue", Jones said. "We're going to respect the flag, and I'm going to create the perception of it".

On Wednesday, Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, the team's NFL Players Association representative, didn't want to talk much about Jones or potentially being required to stand for the anthem. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis home game in protest of about a dozen San Francisco players who kneeled during the anthem.

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