National Football League teams are preparing for the upcoming regular season, while many fans are preparing for another year plagued with anti-American national anthem protests.
But Jerry Jones, owner and president of the Dallas Cowboys, says his team won’t participate in any national anthem protests. “I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have. I feel very strongly that everyone should save that moment for the recognition of the flag in a positive way, so I like the way the Cowboys do it,” he said, according to The Independent Journal Review.
Last season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched a movement when he took a knee to protest the national anthem of the United States. Kaepernick took a knee to protest the supposed mistreatment of people of color in America and has spawned many copy-cat protests. Kaepernick was released as a free agent at the end of the 2016 season, and he remains unsigned.
So far, no player for Jerry Jones’ team, the Dallas Cowboys, has participated in a protest against the national anthem or the American flag. It is unclear how Jones would react if any Cowboy decided to take a knee in protest.
However, not all teams share Jerry Jones’ view, and this football season will likely be plagued with national anthem protests. The preseason has just started, and pregame protests are already the norm.
About a dozen players for the Cleveland Browns took a knee while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played before their preseason game against The New York Giants. The Guardian reports that this was the first national anthem protest that white football players participated in.
The Cleveland Browns pregame protests are the largest since Colin Kaepernick started kneeling last year. Despite the widespread backlash from average football fans to these protests, there is no indication that they will subside before the start of the regular season.
A handful of rookies and new players took part in the Cleveland Browns protest, perhaps because of their recent experience in the left-wing college environment. Seth DeValve, a fourth round draft pick from Princeton University was the first white player to join in the protests against the American flag.
“We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change,” DeValve told the press after his game with the Giants. “I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise [my children] in a better environment than we have right now.”
More NFL players are dishonoring the National Anthem. Will you stop watching the NFL if this continues?
While DeValve is hoping to create a better environment for his children, he is actively fostering a hostile environment in the NFL.
A recent J.D. Power survey, as reported by ESPN, found that the number one reason fans stopped watching football last year was due to their poor perception of national anthem protests. Only 12% of those surveyed said they watched fewer games this year than last. But within that group, 26% said they did so because of the protests.
This number will likely only increase with continued national anthem protests.