Is Jerry Jones' anthem stance legal? Here's what labor lawyers say

Ruben Ruiz
October 12, 2017

Jerry Jones, the charismatic oil billionaire and owner of the Dallas Cowboys, performed something of a volte-face on Monday night, telling ESPN that his players "need consequences" should they feel the desire to kneel during the national anthem.

Jeffrey M. Hirsch, professor of law, University of North Carolina: "Whether or not an owner is violating the National Labor Relations Act for benching someone due to a protest comes down to, in my opinion, what the protest is for".

Wade Rathke, chief organizer of Local 100, said that Jones' threat violates the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which allows employees "to engage in protected concerted activities for the objective of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection".

Following Jones making the policy public, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the NFL's 32 teams regarding a potential league-wide policy change in relation to the anthem.

"It's a threat and you can't threaten someone's job for concerted activity".

"The point is he threatened anybody and everybody", Rathke told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Jones made headlines Sunday, when he said Cowboys players should stand for the national anthem or they will be benched.

Common is woke, and very much up to speed on the nuances of the controversy over kneeling during the national anthem in protest. Legal experts are split on whether NFL owners can legally punish professional football players for not standing for the national anthem before pro football games. Employment law allows private sector employers great latitude in restricting employee conduct and speech while at work. "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear". President [Donald] Trump might not get that.

"We can not in anyway give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag", Jones said, according to the Morning News. Jones might be confused.

Earlier Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game in protest after about a dozen San Francisco players kneeled during the anthem.

But until a Cowboys player takes a knee or does something that Jones deems is "disrespectful to the flag", the policy will likely never be tested.

Other reports by GizPress

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