Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, stated on Sunday that “any player who disrespects the flag will not be allowed to play.” Reported by SportsDay News, after the Cowboys loss to the Packers, Jones took a public stance against kneeling. This makes Jones the first NFL owner to publicly announce a punishment for participating in the protest. Any dialogue addressing kneeling during the National Anthem was introduced following a question on the owner's thoughts on Vice President Pence’s walk-out for the Colts-49ers game. The NFL owner made clear that he supports the actions of the Vice President and that he will make sure that his players stand for the anthem.

Jerry Jones may have been explicit of his stance on what he thinks of those who kneel during the playing of the national anthem. However, he has not made a statement toward the actual symbolic meaning behind the action of kneeling. Although Jones may believe it is “disrespectful” to kneel during the anthem, he did kneel the day of the game on Sunday before the playing of the anthem; locking arms with his players, Jones went down on one knee in the middle of the stadium right before the anthem played and the flag was laid out across the field. In this way, Jones displayed some respect for the protest by, at the least, paying some form of tribute to the action of kneeling. However, it can be argued that the symbolic meaning of the action of kneeling during the playing of the anthem may have been entirely lost.

"Disrespectful" action toward the flag not tolerated

Punishing players for kneeling during the national anthem is, in the opinion of Jones and those who support him (i.e. President Trump), a method of ensuring respect for the flag. The dialogue used by the owner implied the purposeful or otherwise known insult to the American flag by these players.

The President has not been shy about voicing his opinion on the matter before, calling players who are participating in this action vulgar names that no president before him would ever say publicly. Therefore, President Trump’s support of Jones’ newly established rule for his team comes as no surprise, who has, once again, voiced his opinion in the matter via Twitter.

Jerry Jones’ decision to bench players who kneel came after a conversation he had with President Trump over the phone. According to Jones, the President had informed him of a rule pertaining to the conduct a player should abide by during the playing of the national anthem. This information ultimately drove the NFL manager to establish the punishment for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.

Jones has been a long time supporter of President Trump, going as far as to fund his campaign with approximately one million dollars while he was running for the position of president.

Vice President Pence walks out

In response to Vice President Pence’s walk-out from the Cowboys Packers game, Jones was supportive of his decision. Jones stated, “if in [the Vice President’s] opinion, there's disrespect of the flag then he should express himself however he wants to say. He's got rights, too.” In other words, Jones supports the Vice President’s freedom of expression through way of peaceful action. Most Americans support this same virtue. There does not need to be any negative criticism for someone taking a peaceful bias in a matter of controversy. However, is this were always the case, then any discussion pertaining to the current NFL protest would be different.

The action of kneeling during the playing of the national anthem is not a symbol of disrespect to the morals this country considers to be important, it never was.

Careful wording on the part of the media and other voices of influence have chosen to guide public opinion toward the notion that these players who decide to kneel during our anthem are taking a stance against America. It is odd that Jones would easily consider a controversial action taken by the Vice President, but not support a peaceful protest taken by his own players. If VP Pence had the right walk out of the stadium, then perhaps the rights of the players must be taken into account as well.

Any conversation about the kneeling during the anthem has ignored the original intent: a symbol of solidarity for those who have been wrongfully treated in the United States because of their skin color. One must question the reason as to why this discussion has been ignored by the media every single time they bring up the subject of kneeling.