NFL insider suggests that owners are waiting on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before speaking out on social justice issues

NFL owners have been relatively silent on the issue of player protests, and many of them could be waiting for Jerry Jones to make the first move.Ron Jenkins/AP Images
  • Roger Goodell apologized for the NFL's previous stance against player protests, saying the league would improve on such issues moving forward.
  • NFL owners have remained fairly quiet on issues of racial inequality and the players' right to protest.
  • According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, owners could be waiting for Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys to speak out, as he is seen as a leader in the league.
  • Jones has yet to put his support behind player protests the way that Goodell has, and in 2017 said that "under no circumstances will we as an organization, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognize and honor the flag. Period."
  • Not every owner is waiting on Jones to make his move though. Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk published a statement of clear support for players who choose to protest.

Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said "Black lives matter," apologized for not being more supportive of player protests, and vowed that the league wanted to "be part of the much-needed change in this country."

The video message from Goodell represented a sharp shift for the league, as just two years ago the NFL had attempted to institute a ban on kneeling during the national anthem. Goodell faced pressure to make a statement thanks in large part to a video put together by several star players.

But while the commissioner has been publicly stating his support for player protests, NFL owners have largely remained silent. According to one NFL insider, it could be because they are waiting for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to make the first move.
ESPN's Dianna Russini told "Get Up" on Thursday morning that some around the league were aware of the relative silence of owners on issues of social justice and player protest. Russini said she asked a coach if he believed pressure was mounting on the owner of his team to make a public statement, and he told her "Everything falls in line with Jerry Jones."

Russini went on to note Jones' role as a leader amongst the owners, emphasizing the coach's point.

"All eyes are on him. He's the most vocal owner in the league," Russini said. "And not only is he the most vocal leader, but there are numerous owners that listen to him. He mentors them. What Jerry does, they do. And until he makes that move, the dominoes can't start falling."

If the majority of league owners are waiting on Jones, they might be waiting for a while. In 2017, when the topic of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality became a hot-button issue due, Jones came out sharply against players taking a knee.

"If there's anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play," Jones said (via ESPN). "We will not ... if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.""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."

Not every owner across the league is waiting to take their cue from Jones. On Thursday, Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Struck published a statement vocally supporting players' right to protest.

"Hearing our players and coaches speak over the last two weeks has been constructive to this vital discussion," the statement read. "I support our players using peaceful protests and their platforms to advance us as a nation. I would encourage those who haven't thought about these issues before to understand the pain, anger and frustration of the black community. Black lives matter. We should all agree on that."

With Goodell, coaches, and players across the league, and now some owners stepping up to speak out in favor of player protests, it's possible that pressure on Jones to put out a statement of some kind could come to a head at some point in the near future.
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