The NFL has been unable to escape turmoil surrounding the issue of protests that take place during the National Anthem. The subject seemed to be quieting down with fewer and fewer players protesting, and then the owners instituted a new policy in May that would require players either stand and not protest during the Anthem or remain in the locker room until the Anthem was finished.
The owners have since postponed implementation of the rule while they discuss alternative solutions with the NFL Players Association. That did not stop Jerry Jones from voicing his opinion on the matter. The Dallas Cowboys owner and his son Stephen have said the team will require players stand during the Anthem, and there will be no other option. The NFL has since told Jones to stop talking about the issue.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman chatted with USA Today on Monday, and addressed Jones’ comments.
“The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, with the old plantation mentality,” Sherman said of Jones. “What did you expect?”
Last year, after Donald Trump said teams should fire players who kneel during the Anthem, the league tried to push back with players and teams standing together. We saw an assortment of responses, and then things went fairly quiet. The NFL effectively just poked the bear with this in their attempts to get Trump off their back. It has not worked, and with midterm elections approaching and talk of a “blue wave” of Democrats in November, it’s safe to say Trump will bring up player protests multiple times in the coming months.
Jones is arguably the most powerful owner in the NFL at this point. He helped guide the Raiders to Las Vegas, and given the financial value of his Cowboys, it makes sense. He feels comfortable saying and doing what he wants, even when it’s wildly hypocritical (as it usually is). The best commentary on Jones comes from long-time Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen. Give this a watch.
In the meantime, owners and players had their first meeting about the policy late last week. Some kind of resolution will be reached, but I doubt it will make nearly enough people happy out of this. The NFL finds itself in a hornet’s nest, and I don’t see them getting out of this anytime soon. They might have themselves a new normal for the near future.