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Charges have been filed against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to the National Labor Relations Board in Fort Worth, after he made statements threatening to bench players who did not stand for the national anthem.
The United Labor Union’s Wade Rathke filed the charge against Jones, claiming the team owner violated the National Labor Relations Act.
“Benching would be a disciplinary act which would prevent them from working and would be a punishment in everything that I have heard Mr. Jones say,” he said.
In a statement, Rathke wrote that several NFL officials, owners and coaches have “established the player’s right to protest and act concertedly at their workplace, which is the playing field, and Jones, in violation of the Act, is attempting to prevent them from doing so and furthermore threatening to take away their livelihood.”
Rathke said the players are more than just athletes who play a sport on the national stage.
“These are men who have certain rights under the law,” he said.
Rathke stressed that the National Football League has made it clear that players are not required to stand during the National Anthem.
According to CNNMoney, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a letter to team executives which stated that “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. We want to honor our flag and our country and our fans expect that of us.”
He went on to write, “We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.” “The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues,” he wrote.