The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a response to Jerry Jones on Tuesday after the Cowboys owner said he’d sit players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
“This is not an issue about our flag, this is an issue about police brutality, racism, and the ability of members of the NFL whose communities are disproportionately impacted by police misconduct to peacefully say enough,” said NAACP interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “This is not simply a Black issue due to the number of white people also killed by police, but we know historically that when justice occurs for African Americans, all other members of our society benefit as well.”
Jones was the first NFL owner to declare that players will be disciplined for protesting during the anthem when he did so Sunday after the Cowboys’ loss to the Green Bay Packers. He said Tuesday that his intention is to remove the Cowboys from the debate.
“I want them [the players] to have the ammunition to tell anybody that asks them to do anything otherwise or demonstrate during that period of time, that ‘I don’t get to play if I do that,'” Jones said. “This is a workplace issue. I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding as to where I want the personnel of the Cowboys to be when we’re at the No. 1 workplace we have, which is the field and the sideline on gameday. I want to do everybody a service, as I should in leading the team, and let’s be really clear about what our expectations are.”
The NAACP’s senior director of corporate affairs said Jones not only is being insensitive toward his players, but also he’s violating their constitutional rights.
“Jerry Jones’ comments are more than tone-deaf, more than misinformed and misguided – they are a public commitment by an NFL owner to violate his players’ Constitutional right to free speech – one of the principles on which our nation was founded,” said Tony Covington, the NAACP’s Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the NAACP. “They are proof that athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have quietly and peacefully used their platform to protest violence against communities of color do so at their own peril.”
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