Is Jerry Jones' anthem stance legal? Here's what labor lawyers say

Here's the Ultimatum Jerry Jones Just Gave Cowboys Players Over Anthem

Jones' announcement came two weeks after the Cowboys locked arms and kneeled before the national anthem was played before their game against the Arizona Cardinals, protesting police violence against African Americans.

On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated that he would bench players who didn't stand for the national anthem before games.

While the Cowboys already have a team policy in place regarding the anthem, Goodell's letter suggested a new rule, similar to the NBA's requirement for its players to stand for the anthem, could be enacted after discussing the matter at the fall meetings on October 17 and 18.

Early Tuesday, President Donald Trump applauded Jones' actions and slammed suspended ESPN host Jemele Hill for personally attacking the Cowboys' owner.

Jones also said he would speak to players one-on-one if they wanted to talk.

Some states have their own First Amendment-style protections, and they can include protection of political speech, Tushnet said. The law here is that you have the ability to act with your co-worker. In the past, those protections have only protected people from being punished for belonging to certain political parties but a creative lawyer might try to argue it covers protesting football players, too, he said.


Jones said Sunday, "If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won't play".

Added Dallas-based labor lawyer Rogge Dunn of Clouse Dunn: "Jones can do what he wants".

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. "Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear".

But does Jones, or any other owner, have the right to bench a player for protesting during the anthem? Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis home game in protest of about a dozen San Francisco players who kneeled during the anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told club executives Tuesday in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that the anthem issue is dividing the league from its fans.

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