Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager, warned that his players will not participate in future football games if they choose to disrespect the flag.
What did Jones say?
After the Cowboys' 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jones addressed the NFL kneeling protests and players.
"I know this, we cannot ... in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag," he said. "We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we're clear."
He continued, "There is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you're disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other. We will not disrespect the flag.
"If there's anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play," Jones said. "Understand? ... If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won't play. Period."
Why did he say it?
Jones' comments came after he was asked to make a statement on Vice President Mike Pence's decision to leave Sunday's game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers after more than 20 San Francisco players kneeled during the national anthem.
After the Pence left the game, he tweeted, "I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem."
I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
Why is this significant?
This is significant because it would seem that Jones is taking his defense of the American flag and national anthem to another level.
Just two weeks ago, Jones knelt in solidarity — arms linked — with Cowboys players before a game against the Arizona Cardinals. The entire Dallas Cowboys football team — including Jones and head coach Jason Garrett — kneeled briefly before the singing of the national anthem.
However, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” began playing, Jones and the team stood proudly and linked arms across the field out of respect for the national anthem.
Jones has been outspoken about disrespecting the national anthem in the past, but this is his strongest statement yet on the topic.