President Donald Trump expressed his support today for the Dallas Cowboys' national anthem policy. To judge from his comments earlier this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might not be very happy about the endorsement.
Jones said at a press conference Wednesday that everyone on his team must stand for the pre-game playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." In other words, don't protest police brutality or anything else by kneeling during the anthem. The Cowboys are instituting this rule even though the National Football League announced last week that it was suspending a policy requiring players on the field to stand.
The Cowboys are now the only team with such a rule in place. Trump thinks the rest of the league should follow suit:
Way to go Jerry. This is what the league should do! https://t.co/yEP1jK57xi
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2018
But Jones seems to wish Trump would stay out of it, calling Trump's interest in the issue "problematic" and "unprecedented." Jones says he wants the entire debate would simply "go away."
Trump, by contrast, has gone out of his way to ensure the controversy doesn't die. Ever since last September, when he said the "sons of bitches" who kneel should be "fired," the president has tried to rile up his supporters by coming down hard on the NFL. Last month, for example, he disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House after they won the Super Bowl, citing a disagreement over the anthem controversy. And last week, the president suggested some punishments for players who kneel:
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again—can't believe it! Isn't it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
At this rate, the battle will rage on through 2020. And that, no doubt, is exactly what the president wants.