The owner of the Dallas Cowboys says that he will not let his players disrespect the flag during the national anthem and play for his team.
Jerry Jones’s remarks make him the first National Football League (NFL) owner to publicly discuss punishing players who do not stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“If we are disrespecting the flag than we won’t play,” he said Sunday after his team’s 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“We’re going to respect the flag, and I’m going to create the perception of it,” Jones added in Arlington, Texas. “And we have.”
“We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. Just so we’re clear.”
Some Twitter users on Monday praised Jones’s remarks, while others derided the professional football team owner’s move.
Cowboys giving me every reason to be done with them. Jerry Jones just solidified it— Jefe (@JDM_Capital) October 9, 2017
Jones was responding to Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to leave a NFL game Sunday after some of the participating athletes knelt during the national anthem.
Pence said he left the Indianapolis Colts’ clash with the San Francisco 49ers as he will not support any event that “disrespects” America’s flag or its military.
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” he said in a statement.
Scores of NFL coaches, executives and players have knelt during the national anthem since Trump criticized the gesture last month.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest police treatment of America’s minorities.