Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Stephen Jones: Jerry Has Never Told Players What Do During National Anthem

Stephen Jones: Jerry Has Never Told Players What Do During National Anthem

If a player chooses to disrespect the flag, he will not play in the game-and it's as simple as that. "We strongly, strongly support the flag in every way we support - and it's nearly ridiculous to be saying it - the people who for generations and generations have given it all up so that we can get out here and show off in front of millions of people on television". "But if there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag then we will not play", Jones said. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country.

Why did he say it?

Jones was speaking in the aftermath of Vice President Mike Pence leaving the Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday when around 20 players - about 40 percent of the 49ers roster - kneeled during the 'Star Spangled Banner'. The protest originally meant to address police brutality and racial inequality has been injected with politics and Trump and Pence have equated it with disrespecting "the flag" and soldiers. The NFL does not have any mention of conduct during the anthem in their official rulebook, but they do have suggestions in the Game Operations Manual.

Only one of the players who spoke under condition of anonymity with The Root took a knee on Sunday during the national anthem.

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Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first player to kneel during the national anthem.

At the Cowboys' Sept. 25 game with Arizona Cardinals, Jones figured out a way for his team to show solidarity with protesting players on other teams, while still pleasing Trump and fans who oppose the protests.

The team on Sunday stood during the national anthem but at least two made their own personalized statement.

USA Today reports that Cowboys defensive linemen Damontre Moore and David Irving said they held up a fist Sunday at the end of the national anthem. President Donald Trump, who has been incredibly outspoken against players taking part in the protests, announced his support for Jones's method on Twitter in September.

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Mr Jones said a phone conversation with Mr Trump after the display in Arizona included Mr Trump telling him there was a rule on the books.

Some conservative lawmakers who are critical of the players have suggested that they should leave politics off the field, threatening the league itself with repurcussions if they don't comply.

Another practice-squad player told us that his coaching staff previously told the team's black players that they understood the protest, but on the Tuesday after the demonstrations two weeks ago, the head coach said management had asked them to speak to the players and explain that demonstrations would be "looked at on a case-by-case basis".

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