According to a reliable source, the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had a meeting with the players and the coaching staff. During this encounter, he explained what his view of the protests during the anthem was and how his statements in the past couple of days were supposed to divert attention from the players. In other words, he tried to be the bad guy to cut the players some slack, so they don’t get attacked by the president.
Also, Jones spoke to players asking them to see the bigger picture. For instance, he mentioned the business side of the NFL and the entire situation, plus, there is always a concern about how sponsors are going to react to the protests against the anthem.
Some of the Cowboys players who kneeled during the anthem before the game versus the Arizona Cardinals in late September were shocked by and furious with Jones’ recent comments that he would bench players who protested.
Now that everything was out in the open, one of the players said that the entire Dallas organization is supposed to stand during the anthem, whereas another one said that he was feeling more positive towards Jones and his announcements. At one point, he thought that the owner had turned against the players of his own team, source says.
When the team meeting was over, each player got a chance to speak one-on-one with the owner. They could have talked about anything that was bothering them. The Cowboys are entering a bye week, and this is the right time to fix all the issues in the team. Quarterback Dak Prescott, who stayed at the promotional event later that evening, said: “It went well. I mean we ironed out everything that we needed to at this time.”
Lately, Jerry Jones has been very clear about his opinion on how the players should “not disrespect the flag” and that they have to stand during the national anthem if they want to play the game. However, Jones, doesn’t forbid players to express themselves and they can do so before the anthem, but once it is time for it, each player should be standing straight. His statements to forbid the protests during the anthem were surprising since he was standing arm-in-arm with the players and the coaching staff a couple of weeks ago, supporting the protests.
After the tough loss to the Green Bay Packers last week, Jones said: “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
At one point, a complaint against the Cowboys was filed by a local labor union to the National Labor Relations Board, stating that Jones’ threats prevent “concerted activity” at work. However, neither the team officials nor the NFL was willing to comment on the topic.
During the meeting, the players were somewhat quiet while Jones was the one who spoke the most. At least while media were inside. A captain of the team, cornerback Orlando Scandrick said “no comment” several times, refusing to give any kind of remark about recent statements by Dallas owner. Another captain Dan Bailey, who is also the team’s representative in the NFLPA said:
“I think my first responsibility is to listen and provide that forum for them, and then my next job is to relay that to the people that I talk to in that representation. So in that forum, I’m more of just a middleman, be an ear here in the locker room and provide feedback to them. And then, like I said, we can have the discussion amongst all the teams as far as that goes.
“I think, from my position, the status quo is the same,” Bailey added. “We come in every day to work and our focus is on practice and trying to win ballgames. So, in that sense, yeah, I think we’re definitely a unified group.”
An interesting detail was that you could hear a song by YG and Nipsey Hussle blasting through Scandrick’s speakers. For those who don’t know this song disses Donald Trump for criticizing players who have protested during the anthem. Scandrick said: “I was listening to my music. I like that YG song.”