After Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones undermined the NFL/NFLPA agreement to halt the national anthem policy as the two sides continue to talk about it, the league reportedly told Jones to stop talking about the issue.
Jones, who took it upon himself to say his team will stand for the anthem even as the NFL and the union figures that out, was told by the NFL to not talk about the anthem according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hill wrote that Mike Doocy of Fox 4 in Dallas was told at the last minute by Cowboys public relations he couldn’t ask Jones about the anthem, so Doocy canceled a scheduled interview with him.
It’s rare for Jones, who probably speaks to the media more than all other NFL owners combined, to turn down the opportunity to talk about any subject.
Why is the NFL trying to get Jones to quiet down?
Here’s another reminder that the NFL brought this upon itself. Instead of talking about Dak Prescott’s chances of a rebound or how the Cowboys will replace Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, we’re into a third season of this story hovering over the league. The NFL’s impossibly short-sighted decision to develop a policy, in which players on the field were required to stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room, gave new life to the story.
Jones fueled the flames. The NFLPA and NFL, in a rare accord, said they’d talk more about the policy and put a freeze on enacting it. Jones blew that apart by saying all the Cowboys would be required to stand for the anthem. That became an even bigger story when Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins called Jones a bully, and President Donald Trump congratulated Jones. The extra attention is making the issue even more contentious, and that didn’t seem possible.
The NFL screwed this up to an amazing level. Instead of letting the issue be — only a handful of players by the end of last season were demonstrating to bring attention to social issues — the league made sure this is what we’re talking about as the preseason starts. The NFL can tell Jones to be quiet about it now, but it’s the league’s fault we’re talking about this at all.
What happens next?
Jones speaks in a lot of group settings, and many reporters won’t care if the Cowboys rather nobody ask Jones about the anthem. We’ll see if Jones can maintain his silence on an issue that he clearly believes in. It’s not like Jones has had a problem defying the NFL before.
The negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA will probably be trickier because Jones has already said he’ll have his own policy. Even if the NFL and NFLPA come up with a new policy, good luck getting Jones to adhere to it after what he said. It’s not like we’ve heard the last from Jones on this subject, either.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, in announcing the anthem policy, said the NFL wanted the focus to go back on football. The league made sure that won’t happen.
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