Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remains adamant that players on his team will stand for the national anthem, but said that President Trump’s “interest in what we’re doing is problematic.”

That, however, didn’t stop Trump from saluting Jones.

As Cowboys players reported to training camp in Oxnard, Calif., days earlier, Jones held forth in a news conference in which he admitted that, like most people, he wished the anthem controversy “would go away.”

“[Trump’s] interest in what we’re doing is problematic, from my chair, and I would say in general the owners’ chair,” Jones said on Wednesday. “It’s unprecedented, if you really think about it. But like the very game itself, that’s the way it is and we’ll deal with it.

“We feel strongly about how we deal with it and we’ll do so accordingly, but, yes, I, like everybody, would like for it to go away.”

The owner’s son, Stephen Jones, suggested Thursday that Dallas players who don’t stand for the anthem might be cut.

Players took a knee or raised a fist during the playing of the national anthem last season, doing so to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice.

However, the president, vice president and others interpreted it as pointed toward military members. This summer, Trump has raised the issue again several times.

Last week, he tweeted that the rule should be “first time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”

In June, Trump took multiple shots at the league on Twitter.

In May, the NFL announced that players on the sideline would face fines if they did not stand for the anthem and gave them the option of remaining in the locker room while the anthem is played. Previously, the policy said only that players “should” stand.

Last week, though, the league and the NFL Players Association said in a joint statement that they would continue to discuss the policy and that “no new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks.”

They’re facing an impending deadline, with the first preseason game, between the Bears and Ravens, scheduled for Aug. 2 with the full preseason schedule beginning Aug. 9 and the regular season starting Sept. 6.

“Obviously I wouldn’t dare speak for any of the other owners, much less in general about 31 other owners,” Jones said. “But as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, you know where I stand.

“Our team knows where I stand on the issue, and that’s where we are.”

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Stephen Jones, the executive vice president of the Cowboys, told a local sports-talk radio station Thursday that Dallas players will stand during the national anthem — or else.

“If they want to be a Dallas Cowboy, yes,” said Jones when asked if he was confident players will follow the team rule.
“There’s one way to do it right in our mind, and that’s go toes on the line and stand for the anthem.”
“That’s not an ‘I’ or ‘me’ thing. This is an organizational thing,” Jones further explained. “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.”

Jerry Jones also stood by the team’s relationship Papa John’s pizza even after a recent report that founder John Schnatter had used a racial slur in an internal conference call last spring.

“[Those teams] do not have the same relationship that the Cowboys have with the Papa John’s business in Texas,” said Jones. “We own the [50] Papa John’s [stores] in Texas and feel strongly that our Cowboys are the face of Papa John’s and that judgment is warranted by what  we’ve done over the last 15 years. … The point is: We just want to work real hard. We literally have thousands of people who work in those stores.”

Schnatter apologized for his comments and stepped down as chairman, a decision he has since said was a mistake, but remains on the company’s board. Major League Baseball suspended its promotional partnership with the company and a number of sports teams cut ties to it.

Last November, Schnatter was in hot water when he linked his company’s earnings drop to the NFL’s sagging TV ratings and the anthem demonstrations. Schnatter, a contributor to Trump’s presidential campaign, criticized the NFL for its handling of the anthem controversy, saying it “should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago” and accusing the league of “poor leadership.” In February, the NFL and the pizza company agreed to end their leaguewide sponsorship agreement, with Pizza Hut becoming the official pizza sponsor of the league. Individual teams such as the Cowboys were left to evaluate their relationships with Papa John’s.

“That’s very unfortunate that that’s being addressed, unfortunate for the company and unfortunate for John,” Jones said of Schnatter’s recent controversy (via the Morning News). “I’m sure if he could do it over again, he’d like do-overs. But the bottom line is that the Cowboys and our relationships, we own those stores. It’s not an endorsement.”

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