Anthem Threats From Jerry, Stephen Jones Are Empty, Unnecessary

"This is an organizational thing. We feel strongly about it": Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said

Jerry Jones doesn't seem to care all that much that the NFL and the NFLPA are working on a joint resolution regarding the league's national anthem policy.

The league and the NFLPA are trying to find a solution that allows players to protest social injustice, which is how and why this whole anthem issue began, while allowing teams to save face with a president who's obsessed with the topic.

Neither does his son, team Vice President Stephen Jones.

The Cowboys have a policy, and they're determined to enforce it no matter what the NFL and NFLPA decide is the league's policy.

"Our policy is that you stand for the anthem," Jones said, "toe on the line."

This is wrong. And unnecessary.

It's wrong because this is a league of collectively-bargained rules. Anarchy reigns if teams or players get to pick and choose which rules get followed and which rules get ignored.

We know the Cowboys think the flag protests are bad for business and their business partners, but there's no need for the continued threats unless the real goal is public plaudits from the president.

In an interview with KTCK-FM 96.7 on Thursday, Stephen Jones was asked whether he believed players would adhere to the club's strict policy.

"If they want to be a Dallas Cowboy, yes," he said. "That's not an 'I' or 'me' thing. This is an organizational thing. We feel strongly about it. We don't think it's a controversy. We just think that's the way we do it.

"Jerry feels strongly about it. I think he's had a good feel for what our organization should be over 30 years. I think it's paid off for our players for the most part."

Actually, this has only been an issue since former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the national anthem before he, ultimately, began kneeling in 2016.

The Jones' stance is unnecessary because this a young team with a roster full of players who have no desire to challenge the establishment.

There is no Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Bennett or Chris Long like the Philadelphia Eagles have. And there's no player like San Francisco's Richard Sherman or even a thoughtful dude like Martellus Bennett, who retired after last season.

Then again, maybe this is just a way to placate President Donald J. Trump, who seems inordinately interested in this issue.

"His interest in what we're doing is problematic from my chair and I would say in general the owners' chair, unprecedented if you really think about it," Jones said Wednesday. "But, like the very game itself, that's the way it is and we'll deal with it.

The Cowboys have a roster primarily full of players trying to establish themselves in the NFL.

Most don't have the bank account or the Pro Bowls behind their name to challenge the Joneses on the anthem issue.

It's not that the players aren't socially or politically aware, but they're not trying to sacrifice their careers like Kaepernick did.

And that's OK. Few folks would.

It's always easy to tell others about the sacrifices they should make.

"We understand some things aren't what they should be, but we know exactly what we need to do as a team. We need to stay together."

You got to do it the right way," Lewis said. "(Colin) Kaepernick did some great things, but as a team aspect we've got to come together and see what we can actually do to change things."

He's talking action - not just gestures.

Other players such as Lee have never considered kneeling during the national anthem.

"Obviously I believe that there's social injustices that need to change in this country that are very serious," Lee said. "I also believe that I'm going to stand for the anthem because I feel I'm blessed to be an American.

"I'm blessed to have two grandfathers who have served," said Lee. "These are ideas that are not mutually exclusive. I know one thing, our locker room has stayed united."

Publicly and privately, the players are all saying the right thing. Dak Prescott and Sean Lee have said they're standing for the anthem, and it's not a problem.

The others will follow.

What's clear is the players have no interest in letting this issue affect the team.

"At the end of the day, you're getting paid to be a professional athlete," Lewis said. "We have to do what we're told to do at the end of the day and go out there and win games, honestly.

"We're just trying to focus on the team aspect of everything."

And that's why the flag issue is a non-issue for the Cowboys.

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