Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has become a central figure in the national anthem protest controversy in which the NFL finds itself currently embroiled. And on Friday, Jones argued that “both sides are right” on the issue.
However, Jones suggested the swirling controversy has the potential to damage the Cowboys franchise and the NFL as a whole.
Jones last Sunday indicated any Cowboys player who protested during the anthem would be benched. He has since clarified and reiterated his stance on the matter. A meeting with players followed later in the week, of which Jones on Friday declined to divulge any details beyond referring to it as a “serious setting.”
Jones also admitted not everyone was pleased with the outcome.
“There are issues here that you can’t have both,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM], as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. “You just can’t do both. But can you show sensitivity and recognize everybody has a point here that’s either-or? And the answer is that is what I do and should be doing. This either-or or crisp guidelines is nothing new to me. I have to ultimately do that. And the buck stops here. It really does for me. The way it is certainly with the Cowboys, the primary and complete importance above all are the Cowboys and the franchise.”
As noted, Jones mentioned “both sides are right” on the anthem protest debate, but insists when it comes to irreparably tarnishing the NFL brand — not to mention the Cowboys — the threat is real.
“We have a chance of damaging not just the game, but in this particular case, the Cowboys franchise,” Jones said. “… Let’s come up with ways that we really can give a message about police brutality or we can give a message about disparity. We can give those messages, but we won’t be able to give it if we’re not as substantive as we are, and this flag issue is taking away from how substantive we are.”
The NFL on Friday indicated it will not seek a mandate for players to stand for the anthem.