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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is calling Jerry Jones a “bully” after the Dallas Cowboys owner insisted his players will stand for the national anthem.
Speaking to reporters during training camp on Friday, the Eagles locker room leader says other NFL owners are allowing Jones to push the narrative about why some players protest during the anthem.
“The one thing is we have owners like Jerry Jones who speak so strongly and has drawn his line in the sand and has been very vocal about it, when you’ve had other owners be very quiet. Jerry Jones is now the voice of NFL ownership, so unless you have some other owners come out with definitive statements in support, they’re going to allow Jerry Jones to push the narrative, not only NFL owners, but the NFL as well,” Jenkins asserted.
Jenkins stated Jones uses his position to “intimidate” players who might want to take a stand on social issues, while saying Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie “has been very supportive from the beginning.”
“I don’t see Jeffrey as a bully like Jerry Jones is. Lucky for me, I don’t play for the Cowboys, nor do I want to. I think it’s unfortunate you have owners like him who use his position to intimidate and intentionally thwart even the idea of his players thinking individually or having a voice about issues that affect their communities daily, which is unfortunate for them. Hopefully we’ll have guys challenge that and they have my full support,” the Eagles safety said.
During his annual news conference to open Cowboys training camp in California, Jones declared he wouldn’t support anyone who would stay in the locker room during the national anthem.
“No,” Jones said when asked if he would support players staying in the locker room. “Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line.”
Last season, Jones was the first owner to declare that he would bench a player for protesting during the anthem. Two of his players — defensive linemen David Irving and Damontre Moore — raised their fists briefly as “The Star Spangled Banner” ended but weren’t disciplined.
“I obviously wouldn’t dare speak for any of the other owners, much less in general about 31 other owners,” Jones said. “As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, you know where I stand. Our team knows where I stand on the issue.”
“The longer Jerry Jones continues to say stupid stuff in the media about how he wants to bully his players, great, you guys will bring cameras to me and I’ll talk about how police brutality needs to end, how we need to end mass incarceration, how we need to have better school systems for our kids and inner city youth,” said Jenkins. “Every time the president says something crazy, we’ll continue to have microphones and be able to talk to people about not only the issues that there are in our community , but how we can all play a part to make things better.
However, President Donald Trump congratulated Jones saying his players will be required to stand for the playing of the national anthem.
Trump tweeted Friday: “Way to go Jerry. This is what the league should do!”
Last week, the NFL and the players’ union agreed to suspend the rule approved by owners this spring that gave players the option of staying in the locker room while allowing teams to discipline players who took a knee or sat during the anthem.
The decision to begin negotiating on the issue came hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protested during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under team policy.
The issue erupted in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. The demonstration spread to other players and teams.
The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009, the year it signed a marketing deal with the military.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)