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First NFL Team Owner Sides with Trump, Says All Players Must Stand for Anthem

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While various NFL teams and owners have strongly suggested or implied that they would like their players to stand and respect the national anthem, none have been particularly overt about it. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones came the closest, threatening to strip playing time if a player were to disrespect the anthem.

But thus far, no owners have fully come out and said that standing for the anthem is a team rule and an absolute must.

A big part of the owners’ collective resistance to mandating such change also seems to stem from a hesitance to side with President Donald Trump after he called out the NFL and lambasted anthem protesters.

“Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump said about NFL anthem protesters during a rally in September.

“For a week, (the owner that cut the anthem protester) be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for,” Trump added.

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The NFL responded with mass protests across the league as soon as Trump’s comments went viral. For the first time, even owners, such as Jones and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, participated in kneeling with players to protest Trump’s comments and show solidarity.

The frayed relationship between Trump and the NFL fraternity seemed like it would make it impossible for any owner to take the president’s advice and mandate players to stand for the anthem.

That is not the case anymore.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross came out firing when asked about players using the national anthem as a platform to protest.

Do you think the NFL should fire players who kneel during the national anthem?

“All of our players will be standing,” Ross told the New York Daily News. Ross was in Times Square awaiting the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s ROBIE Lifetime Achievement Award when he spoke to the Daily News.

The Dolphins had three prominent anthem protesters through the season. Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas all consistently knelt through the 2017 season. Still is the only one still likely to be on the team next season. Michael Thomas is the most vocal social activist and will become a free agent. Julius Thomas’ name has been brought up as a likely cap casualty and is expected to be cut.

“Initially, I totally supported the players in what they were doing,” said Ross. “It’s America and people should be able to really speak about their choices.”

Ross then went on to endorse Trump and cited him as a primary reason for Ross’ change of heart about anthem protests. According to Ross, he changed his mind as soon as the outside world and Trump interpreted those protests as disrespectful to military and the American flag.

“When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling,” Ross said.

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“I like Donald (Trump). I don’t support everything that he says. Overall, I think he was trying to make a point, and his message became what kneeling was all about. From that standpoint, that is the way the public is interpreting it. So I think that’s really incumbent upon us to adopt that. That’s how, I think, the country now is interpreting the kneeling issue.”

Ross, 77, has been in consistent contact with Trump, whose relationship with him stems back to the USFL days.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Birthplace
Hawaii
Education
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech




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