Jerry Jones brought this upon himself.
The Dallas Cowboys owner who has insisted on keeping the NFL’s national anthem controversy in the headlines to the point that the league reportedly told him to shut his mouth now finds himself in the crosshairs for his own lack of decorum during the Star-Spangled Banner.
Jones attended a Cowboys practice on Saturday that was opened by a trumpeter’s rendition of the national anthem. Dallas’ WFAA was there with cameras and caught Jones slipping at a very inopportune time.
Jerry Jones refuses to take hat off for national anthem
Jones was wearing a Cowboys hat and did not remove it, a clear breach of protocol of acceptable behavior during the national anthem. To make matters worse, Jones’ son and Cowboys COO Stephen Jones appeared to point out the etiquette breach, only to find his suggestion that dad remove his hat promptly blown off.
WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen, a long-time fixture on the Dallas sports scene known for thoughtful, provocative commentary, called Jones out for his hypocrisy.
“Jones loves and respects the national anthem so much, that when it was being played before the start of practice Saturday, he left his cap on. And when he was told about the mistake he was making, he still left his cap on.
He who makes the rules, apparently doesn’t have to follow them.”
Anthem controversy finds a new, absurd level
Hansen’s point is salient.
At the same time, this is absurd. All of it.
The fact that Cowboys players and employees can’t start their work days without the Star-Spangled Banner is bizarre and ritualistic to begin with. Imagine the average American worker showing up at the office or restaurant or construction site and being being forced to stand at attention before getting on with the task at hand.
It’s a practice that has become custom at actual sporting events and is now apparently a required part of the mundane preparation for those games as well.
Jones brought this attention upon himself
Once we’re past the oddity of the ritual itself, the fact that the minutiae of an individual’s participation in said ritual is being parsed so publicly is also quite bizarre. But it’s something that can’t be ignored in light of Jones’ hard line on the anthem and his perpetual need to be looked at.
Jones made waves last week when he told media that Cowboys players are required to literally toe the line when it comes to the national anthem. This pronouncement came despite the NFL calling for a hiatus on the issue until it can figure out how to get a firmer grasp on the colossal, self-induced cluster that it has created by botching the anthem issue at almost every step.
“Our policy is that you stand for the anthem, toe on the line,” Jones said.
Jones changes tune when he knows cameras are there
Jones pulled off one of 2017’s most impressive look-at-me moments before a Cowboys game with the Arizona Cardinals when he locked arms with players and knelt on the field prior to the Monday night game. It was a momentary shocker at the height of the in-season anthem hubbub that wore off when the cameras zoomed out to reveal that the flag had not yet been unveiled and the anthem was not yet being played.
So Jones eats this up. He clearly loves being at the center of this kind of attention and wielding sway over players who may feel otherwise compelled to use protests during the anthem to bring attention to social and racial injustice in the United States.
It’s why there was a camera pointed directly at him during Saturday’s anthem rendition at Cowboys practice. Except this time, Jones was apparently unaware of the attention directed his way, and we all got a clear candid look at his non public-relations approach to the national anthem.
That approach appears to include a nonchalant and intentional disregard for holding himself to the same hard-line standards he imposes on his employees.
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