Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is a great businessman who is simply making business decision: Demand his players to stand for the national anthem.
His critics, and certainly anyone surprised by the decision, should not be surprised.
Jones didn’t become a billionaire by waking up every morning thinking about civil rights and social justice.
No, the extraordinary businessman wakes up consumed with business — which is to say the bottom line and his customers, who will largely appreciate the new stand-for-the-anthem mandate.
No need to waste time and money conducting polls or fan surveys. Jones, attuned to his customers, has figured out what the data would show: Many Cowboys fans view players who kneel or raise fists during the anthem not as an acceptable way to protest social injustice, but as an affront to the American flag.
That sentiment could cost the Cowboys more than goodwill. It could cost them revenue if fans turn their back on the team, and Jones’ stand-for-the-anthem policy heads off the financial risk.
The big mistake came Sept. 25, when Jones joined his players on the field before the Cowboys’ game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Along with the players, Jones briefly knelt — shockingly reminiscent of Colin Kaepernick — before standing for the Star-Spangled Banner in what appeared to be an act of solidarity.
It was nothing but an act.
Being a successful businessman does not require great moral courage — in fact, it seems to be a detriment nowadays — and so it’d be foolish to demand it or expect it from Jones, especially in the current political climate.
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have used their political muscle to turn up the heat on NFL owners like Jones. Solidarity with his players made for a nice photo opportunity. But Jones is still the same businessman who acted wisely to protect a franchise valued by Forbes magazine at $4.2 billion.
If anything, he deserves to be lauded — for reminding us of who and what he is.