Trump praises Cowboys owner on National Football League protests

Posted October 12, 2017

But legal experts differ on whether pro teams who play in publicly-funded stadiums or who accepted government money in exchange for patriotic displays like the national anthem could find themselves legally exposed if they punish kneeling players. Coaches were reportedly at that meeting and told players that they should take their issues to Jones directly. Unlike the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, the NFL CBA does not specifically require players to stand for the anthem. The move was applauded on Monday night by President Donald Trump, who tweeted: "A big salute to Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who will BENCH players who disrespect our Flag". If they are protesting racial discrimination, that's something that impacts their status as National Football League players. According to multiple reports, Jones met with players to discuss his stance and most players still in the locker room after the meeting told reporters they had no comment, although, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, cornerback Orlando Scandrick did pull out a pair of pink cleats for breast cancer awareness to note "they are allowed support".

ESPN's Josina Anderson tweeted out quotes from one anonymous player who seems apoplectic. "That's not why they're kneeling, but if it were, that would be something that would clearly be a protected activity".

"If the government pays for the patriotic display and the firing is a result of the behavior being deemed insufficiently patriotic, it is conceivable that that a claim could then be articulated", said Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment attorney in NY.

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But those political motives of kneeling likely would not protect the players from discipline.

Added Dallas-based labor lawyer Rogge Dunn of Clouse Dunn: "Jones can do what he wants". The law here is that you have the ability to act with your co-worker. Around kickoff, Pence wrote on Twitter that he left because he would not "dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem". However, another players said Jones still expected them to stand during the anthem. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis home game in protest of about a dozen San Francisco players who kneeled during the anthem.