Following league-wide national anthem protests, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made it known that he would prefer it if his team stood.
Three Dolphins players—wide receiver Kenny Stills, safety Michael Thomas, and tight end Julius Thomas—have taken knees during the anthem. This week, the three ended up standing in the tunnel during the anthem before heading onto the field afterward.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase set up a policy Sunday, Oct. 8, that players need to stand for the national anthem, the Sun-Sentinel reported. If they do not wish to stand, they have to stay in the tunnel or locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Ross said that President Donald Trump changed the nature of the protest with his tweets and statements last month.
“He’s changed that whole paradigm of what protest is,” Ross said Sunday, according to the newspaper. “And I think it’s incumbent upon the players today, because of how the public is looking at it, to really stand and really salute the flag.”
Ross noted that he sees sports as a way to unite people—especially for young people.
“Right now [with] these kids you want understanding, that we really have to get out into the white community and have them accept the fact this isn’t about all black kids and the protest they have,” Ross told the paper.
Cowboys Owner Says Players Need to Stand
Over the weekend, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that players who “disrespect” the American flag won’t play.
Last month, during a “Monday Night Football” game against the Arizona Cardinals, Jones, coaching staff, and Cowboys players took a knee for a few seconds before the anthem played. Then, the team stood for the anthem.
But Jones appeared to change his tune.
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones said on Sunday after the team played the Green Bay Packers, ESPN reported. “Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Cowboys players Damontre Moore and David Irving raised their fists toward the end of the anthem. Jones said he wasn’t aware of that.
“We as a team are very much on the page together,” Jones told ESPN.
“We made our expression. I’m very supportive of the team, but under no circumstances will the Dallas Cowboys — I don’t care what happens — under no circumstances will we as an organization, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognize and honor the flag. Period.”
The topic was raised again when Vice President Mike Pence left the San Francisco 49ers-Indianapolis Colts game, which saw several players take a knee during the national anthem. More than 20 of the 49er’s players protested.
Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is generally credited with starting the protests, saying he did it to protest “police brutality” and “racial injustice.” Kaepernick drew the national spotlight with his protest, but has not been hired by any team since becoming a free agent.