NBA superstar LeBron James says he stopped supporting the Dallas Cowboys because they did not kneel for the national anthem.
What is the background?
After the NFL updated its rules to permit players to remain in the locker room during the national anthem, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reiterated his team's policy: They honor the national anthem.
"I will speak for one, and everybody knows where we stand, and we stand as a team," Jones said in July 2018. "Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line."
What did James say?
Speaking on Instagram Live, James, a longtime Cowboys fan, said on Thursday that he stopped being a fan of the Cowboys over their stance on kneeling.
"There were just a lot of things that were going on during when guys were kneeling and guys were having freedom of speech," James said.
"They wanted to do it in a very peaceful manner," he claimed. "A lot of people in their front office and a lot of people that ran the organization were like, ‘If you do that around here, then you will never play for this franchise again.'"
"And I just didn’t think that was appropriate so," he added.
James, however, did not offer any evidence to back his claim that Cowboys' officials threatened their players if they kneeled.
In fact, there is evidence to the contrary.
After Jones publicly reiterated his team's policy, Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott said the team agreed with Jones.
"Us as a team, we chose to stand together for the national anthem. It was our decision. I think it just shows our culture. It shows that we have unity. We're going to stand as one," Elliott said.
"That's not knocking anyone else who may choose to kneel during the national anthem," he added. "But we're the Dallas Football Cowboys, America's Team. We stand for the national anthem."
James said he is now "all in" on his hometown team, the Cleveland Browns.
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