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Stephen Jones gives Cowboys players ultimatum on anthem issue

Stephen Jones made the organization’s stance abundantly clear concerning what is expected of Dallas Cowboys players when it comes to the national anthem: It’s Jerry Jones’ way or the highway.

The Cowboys owner, despite sending arguably mixed messages on the issue, upped the ante on Wednesday by stating players on the team will be expected to stand for the anthem, regardless of the NFL’s ultimate determination on the issue.

“Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line,” Jerry Jones said at his opening press conference at Cowboys’ training camp.

Doubling down on his father’s rhetoric, the Cowboys executive vice president made it clear on Thursday that there are no exceptions if players hope to remain with the organization.

Jones was then asked whether he feels confident that Cowboys players will follow the rules set out by the front office:

“If they want to be a Dallas Cowboy, yes,” Stephen Jones said.

“That’s not an ‘I’ or ‘me’ thing. This is an organizational thing,” Jones added on on KTCK 96.7 FM The Ticket, via SportsDay. “We feel strongly about it. We don’t think it’s a controversy. We just think that’s the way we do it. Jerry feels strongly about it. I think he’s had a good feel for what our organization should be over 30 years. I think it’s paid off for our players for the most part.”

Stephen Jones added that the Cowboys will always be “supportive” of players’ efforts to be socially active and protest injustice, only that “we’ll help them pursue them on Tuesdays,” not on game days.

Jerry Jones has railed against players protesting the anthem going back to last season, although has expressed the opinion that “both sides are right” in the debate of the issue. The Cowboys owner has been criticized for his handling of the anthem controversy, however, reportedly even by coaches on his own team.

Considering his no-nonsense, hard-line stance, Jones presumably ought to expect at least some Cowboys players to exert resistance over his latest proclamation, regardless of the threatened consequences.