As Cowboys owner Jerry Jones prepares to thread a needle made even more narrow by recent events, the NFL doesn’t seem to be inclined to stop him.
Jones continues to hold out hope that he can cajole Cowboys players into not exercising their right to peacefully protest social injustice by taking a knee or otherwise demonstrating during the national anthem. The league, which as highlighted by the recent comments of Commissioner Roger Goodell to Emmanuel Acho clearly supports player protests and understands that kneeling during the anthem does not constitute disrespect of the military, the flag, or the country, continues to let Jones clumsily stumble through the anthem minefield in search of “grace.”
As to Jones’ recent comments on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas regarding his effort to fashion a compromise with players that would not involve kneeling during the anthem, the NFL told PFT that it has no comment.
That’s not good enough. If the Commissioner means what the Commissioner says about the rights of players to peacefully protests, all teams must be on board with that message. If any — including one of the league’s flagship franchises — aren’t, the Commissioner must take a stand.
It won’t be easy to tell Jerry Jones to knock it off. It definitely will be an uncomfortable conversation. But it is necessary. Otherwise, the Commissioner’s words regarding support for players who choose to kneel become as empty and hollow as his expression of remorse for a quarterback who continues to be blackballed by the league.
Put simply, if the man whose signature is printed on every official NFL football can’t or won’t call Jones and tell him that he cannot and will not attempt to persuade his players to not exercise their right to protest, then Jerry Jones’ signature is the one that should be on the football. Because that would mean Jones, not Goodell, is the person running the sport.