Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, Jones said the players could express themselves prior to the national anthem in a similar manner to how the team handled things before their September 25 game at the Arizona Cardinals.
Jerry Jones is free to bench his players if, in his mind, they "disrespect the flag" during the national anthem, according to legal experts.
But it still appeared a departure from Jones's previous stance displayed earlier this season, when he knelt along with the Cowboys players prior to the anthem, before a game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale on September 26 on Monday Night Football. Trump explained later that evening in a tweet that he had instructed Pence to leave the game between the Indianapolis Colts and 49ers if "any players kneeled, disrespecting our country".
Jones sought to ensure players also saw the bigger picture regarding the business side of the situation, including concerns over TV ratings and sponsors, the source said. Another said they had a better feeling for Jones' comments because at first he wondered if Jones had turned against them, according to the source.
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"If it is a private stadium, it is not a public forum and the person imposing the rule is not a government actor", said Stephen F. Ross, director of the Penn State University Institute for Sports Law, Policy, and Research.
But those political motives of kneeling likely would not protect the players from discipline.
But until a Cowboys player takes a knee or does something that Jones deems is "disrespectful to the flag", the policy will likely never be tested. "That's not why they're kneeling, but if it were, that would be something that would clearly be a protected activity". Around kickoff, Pence wrote on Twitter that he left because he would not "dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem". I don't want to cause no attention to nobody else and bring unwanted attention, but on the same token, you know, there's certain things that people are doing it for.