Signing Colin Kaepernick wouldn’t be any more of a distraction than what Jerry Jones dumped on his unsuspecting Dallas Cowboys team this week. The Cowboys are 2-3 and probably don’t need to be wasting time worrying about the national anthem, but that’s the situation Jones put them in. With some oddly timed comments after Sunday’s loss, Jones basically said players who don’t stand for the anthem won’t play.
The players seemed blindsided by it, and had a team meeting Wednesday to discuss it according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Does this seem like a good situation, football-wise, for the Cowboys after losing back-to-back home games? It’s not like Jones can or would walk back his comments. Whatever the motivation behind changing his tune after kneeling with the team before the anthem at a “Monday Night Football” game at Arizona, Jones has drawn a line and dared players to cross it.
It’s no surprise that players are surprised and upset. Rapoport said the coaching staff listened to the players, but the players were told to talk to Jones. This could get ugly. It’s not like the Cowboys are a team where the owner is rarely seen or heard. Jones is always around. He’s always speaking to the media about the team. The Cowboys won’t find it easy to separate what they do on the field with an off-field battle with a disengaged owner, because Jones is the opposite of disengaged.
And all it would take is for one player, or multiple players, to challenge Jones on his edict to blow this up into a much bigger controversy, perhaps the biggest we’ve had since Kaepernick first sat for the anthem in August of 2016. Already a labor union has challenged Jones. Just imagine the fallout if a player knelt and was cut. Now imagine if it was one of the Cowboys’ true stars.
You’d think an owner judged to be a Hall of Famer would not do something he had to know could directly harm his team’s chances of winning. But that’s what the Cowboys are stuck with now.