Earlier this week, Bengals owner Mike Brown made it clear that the league office has told the teams not to talk about the ongoing effort to fix the anthem policy. On Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked about the ongoing effort to fix the anthem policy, saying among other things that his team won’t honor the anthem policy on the books, because his players won’t take advantage of their opportunity to remain in the locker room for the playing of the song.
And so the broader question becomes this: If there truly is a gag order regarding the anthem policy, will the league office punish Jones for violating it? Asked whether there’s a prohibition against talking about the anthem policy and, if so, whether Jones will be fined, the league office declined to comment.
Nine years ago, the NFL fined Jones $100,000 for talking about Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, after saying this: “Right now, we are subsidizing [the Minnesota] market. It’s unthinkable to think that you’ve got the market you — got here 3 1/2 million people — and have teams like Kansas City and Green Bay subsidizing the market. That will stop. That’s going to stop.That’s on its way out.”
Earlier this year, the NFL forced Jones to reimburse the league more than $2 million for legal fees incurred in response to a threat to sue over a proposed contract extension for the Commissioner.
Here’s a guess: The league won’t do anything, because to fine Jones is to invite a tweet from the Commander-in-Chief chastising the league for attacking Jones for trying to ensure that his employees show proper respect for the flag. If the guess is wrong, maybe it means the league is inching toward a position of no longer caring about the comments of the President.