(The Sports Xchange) – NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith released a statement Monday regarding players protesting during the national anthem, saying “no player is disrespecting our country or our flag.”
Smith’s statement comes following Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ comments on Sunday that his players must stand for the anthem or else they would not play.
In addition, Vice President Mike Pence left Sunday’s game in Indianapolis when the visiting San Francisco 49ers knelt during the national anthem before facing the Colts.
“Last week both the Commissioner and the Chair of the NFL Management Council John Mara were clear when they assured our union leaders, in the presence of other owners, that they would respect the Constitutional rights of our members without retribution,” Smith said in a statement. “I look forward to the day when everyone in Management can unite and truly embrace and article what that Flag stands for: ‘Liberty and Justice for All’ instead of some of them just talking about standing. We look forward to continuing our talks with them on this very issue.
“No player is disrespecting our Country or our Flag. As thousands have shown in the past, it takes bravery and courage to speak and confront these issues as our players have, especially when it is unpopular with some. There is room for Management to do the same and maybe then players do not have to risk the taunts and threats alone. This is their opportunity to lead as well and will be a true test of the motto that ‘Football is Family.'”
Jones’ comments occurred in response to Pence abruptly leaving Sunday’s game after more than 20 49ers knelt during the national anthem.