The solidarity expressed by NFL owners with their players in response to President Trump’s criticism of those who take a knee during the national anthem does not actually reflect the unity they are promoting, claims ESPN Radio host Bomani Jones.
NFL owners including Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons and Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins displayed acts of solidarity this past weekend to counter Trump’s disapproval of kneeling players — including a tweet that suggested they be fired — by locking arm-in-arm with their players during the national anthem.
And on Monday night Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones knelt with his team arm-in-arm before the national anthem, only to rise with his players during it — a move that Jones believes demonstrates the NFL’s need to preserve image rather than unity.
“I thought it was strategically brilliant for Jerry Jones,” the ESPN personality told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein during the “Political Powerhouse” podcast. “This allowed him to be part of the same demonstration of post solidarity that most NFL owners have been on and allowed players to make a point that they were kneeling just like the other players were.”
Jones continued, “What Jerry Jones did was make standing for the National anthem compulsory which is exactly what Trump is saying they should do. Jerry Jones said in effect, ‘my team has to stand for the national anthem. If you want to something before that, you can but you have to stand.'”
It is former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick who kicked off the controversy last year after he took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial inequality. While his critics have questioned Kaepernick’s playing abilities, many argue that Kaepernick’s unsigned status is due to the potential distraction he brings to the locker room.
Jones believes that NFL owners and general managers will reflect true unity when they are willing to employ and support a player like Kaepernick.