Cowboys' Jerry Jones Meets With Players To Discuss His Stance On National Anthem
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones met with players and coaches yesterday and informed them that his stance on protesting during the national anthem was "rooted in a desire to play the bad guy and deflect attention from the players," according to a source cited by Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The source said that Jones sought to "ensure that players also saw the bigger picture regarding the business side of the situation, including concerns over TV ratings and sponsors." Some Cowboys players were "frustrated" by Jones' recent comments in which he threatened to bench players who disrespected the flag. The source said one Cowboys player said the team had a "better feeling for Jones' comments, because at first he wondered if Jones had turned against them." Archer noted Jones has been "outspoken regarding his stance that players must 'not disrespect the flag' and that they must stand for the anthem." Cowboys K and player rep Dan Bailey said that there have been "numerous conference calls with the players' association regarding the situation." He added that the team's focus "did not appear to be affected" yesterday (ESPN.com, 10/11). Bailey: "The main focus is to establish some sort of baseline where you can come together and agree on something in principle. It doesn’t mean that your individual views are right or wrong." In Ft. Worth, Clarence Hill Jr. cites sources as saying that players yesterday were able to "air their frustrations" regarding Jones’ comment. The sources added that the talk with Jones came after an initial discussion "happened during a team meeting for normal game review" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/12). Cowboys QB Dak Prescott yesterday spoke after a promotional event for NFL's Play Football and Campbell's Chunky Soup and said that the team "'ironed out' what it needed to in the meeting with Jones" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/12).
STAYING ON MESSAGE: THE MMQB's Albert Breer reports Jones' message to the team was "consistent with who Jones has always been: the ultimate businessman and deal broker." He explained "how far the league has come as a money-making entity since he bought the team 28 years ago, and emphasized that more 90% of the audience driving that income never attends a single game, watching instead on TV." Jones indicated that President Trump is "targeting that audience, and continuing the fight, as he sees it, will only make things worse." He then "advocated different ways that the league and players could work together to create social change." One idea was to use NFL Network and league’s broadcast partners to "promote the messages players are trying to send" (SI.com, 10/12).
LOOKING AHEAD: YAHOO SPORTS' Frank Schwab wrote it is "hard to deny" that this is the type of "distraction the Cowboys don’t really need." The team has a bye this week, which will "let any bad feelings calm down," though the "issue isn’t going away." Jones "brought this upon himself and the team." It could be a "very interesting Week 7 for the players and the owner'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/11). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, "I don't think it's a coincidence that Jerry Jones chose right before the bye week to do some of this stuff so that some of this can simmer down and cool off" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 10/11). ESPN's Adam Schefter: "Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are fortunate in that they are on a bye because we're not going to see how it plays out this week before we get these discussions in New York City on Tuesday and Wednesday" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 10/12).