On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was pointed in saying that players employed by his team would not play if they chose to “disrespect the flag” and those comments produce stark reaction around the league. In non-coincidental fashion, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith took to Twitter on Monday morning and produced a direct statement.
“Last week both the Commissioner and the Chair of the NFL Management Council John Mara were clear when they assured our union leaders, in the presence of other owners, that they would respect the Constitutional rights of our members without retribution.
I look forward to the day when everyone in Management can unite and truly embrace and articulate what the Flag stands for: “Liberty and Justice for All” instead of some of them just talking about standings. We look forward to continuing our talks with them on this very issue.”
Smith was not running from the assurances of the NFL and, at least from the outside, they seem to be in direct contrast to Jones’ comments. Given that he is a (very) powerful owner within the league, it does not come as a surprise that Smith would respond in kind.
In addition to his comments above, Smith indicated that “no player is disrespecting our Country or our flag” and he went on to say that the NFL leadership now has “their opportunity to lead as well and will be a true test of their motto that ‘Football is Family.'”
It will be interesting to see what comes back from the NFL in this instance but Smith isn’t pulling punches this time around.