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National Anthem: Union, Jerry Jones at odds over protests

National Anthem: Union, Jerry Jones at odds over protests

October 12th, 2017 by Gazette Staff in Opinion Editorial

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it clear how he feels about NFL players who kneel in protest instead of standing respectfully for the pre-game national anthem.

"If you do not honor and stand for the flag in the way that a lot of our fans feel that you should, if that's not the case, then you won't play," he told Dallas radio station KRLD Tuesday.

But will he actually take action?

"I would ask anybody to look at my record relative to what I say I'm going to do, and go from there," he said.

Jones' words will make a lot of Cowboys supporters happy. Right now the NFL is in turmoil with a lot of dedicated football fans outraged by the players' protest. Some have boycotted watching the games live or on TV and refuse to buy NFL merchandise. But his stance has drawn the ire of organized labor.

ESPN reported Wednesday that Local 100 of the United Labor Unions filed a complaint against Jones, claiming any move to force players to stand for the anthem violates the National Labor Relations Act.

In its complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, the ULU says Jones is "attempting to threaten, coerce and intimidate all Dallas Cowboys players" into standing for the anthem.

As far as we can tell, the ULU doesn't represent any Cowboys player so we don't know why they are poking their nose into this. But apparently the NLRB is taking the complaint seriously. The board said it will assign an investigator to look into the matter. Depending on what happens then, Jones may be heading to court.

The NFL doesn't require players to stand for the anthem, despite what a fake page of rules floating around on social media says. It does suggest they "should" stand and Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday sent a memo to teams saying the league wants the players to stand. But that's not the issue.

We think players should stand for the national anthem. And as the guy who signs their paychecks, we think Jones has every right to insist they do so while at work on his dime. Few of us who work in less rarefied professions have the freedom to say or do anything we want on the clock. These guys don't rate any special dispensation.

If they want to protest, feel free. They have that right. But on their own time, just like the fans who make their lavish lifestyles possible.

We hope the NLRB recognizes this. And we hope Jones doesn't back down.

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