Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has never minded attention. So it makes some version of sense that he believes he’s doing his players a favor by telling them that they have to stand for the national anthem.
According to Todd Archer of ESPN.com, a source said Jones told his players during yesterday’s meeting that his stance was “rooted in a desire to play the bad guy and deflect attention from the players.”
If only because any attention on players would be attention Jones isn’t getting, that at least seems philosophically consistent for the Cowboys owner.
Most players left after yesterday’s meeting without commenting, and since it’s their bye week, they won’t have to do anything before next week’s league meeting when the topic of anthems and protests will be discussed.
If anything, Jones seems to have his quarterback on board, as Dak Prescott said at a promotional event later Wednesday that the meeting was positive.
“It went well,” Prescott said. “I mean we ironed out everything that we needed to at this time.”
During the meeting, Jones apparently also tried to emphasize the bigger picture regarding the business side of the anthem, which confirms that NFL owners are more worried about green than red, white, and blue. By bringing the specter of sponsors and TV ratings into the equation, Jones can put pressure on players to stand without being overtly paternalistic or worse.
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones said after Sunday’s loss to the Packers. “Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
Jones might think he’s doing his players a favor, but the other way to look at it is that he’s caving to pressure from President Donald Trump to force players to stand. And some of Jones’ players might have some concerns about that.