Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised his team for not demonstrating during the national anthem ahead of Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
"I applaud our players, our team," he said on his radio show on Tuesday, according to the Star-Telegram. "I applaud Jason Witten as far as his energy. But I've got to give a big pat on the back to our entire team, our coaching staff, our entire organization."
Over the weekend, a number of NFL players followed 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and staged a protest during the national anthem. Some players raised fists, while others followed Kaepernick's lead and knelt as the anthem was sung. No Cowboys protested, though tight end Jason Witten acknowledged last week that Kaepernick is exercising his right to freedom of speech.
Kaepernick and other players have been protesting racial inequality and injustice, specifically highlighting police violence against minorities. Critics have accused Kaepernick and other protestors of disrespecting the flag by demonstrating during the national anthem, though Kaepernick has said his protest is not intended to disrespect the military.
"We strongly, strongly support the flag in every way we support—and it's almost ridiculous to be saying—the people that for generations and generations that have given it all up so that we can get out here and show off in front of millions of people on television," Jones said, according to the Star-Telegram. "We respect that so much. That's the real business. The forum of the NFL and the forum of television is a very significant thing.
"And I'm for it being used in every way we can to support the great, great contributors in our society. And that's people that have supported America, the flag, and there's no reason to not go all out there. And for anybody to use parts of that visibility to do otherwise is really disappointing."
The Giants beat the Cowboys, 20–19.