The Dallas Cowboys have officially kicked off training camp in Oxnard, California. And, as usual, Jerry Jones was grabbing headlines on issues that had little to do with football.
In his opening news conference on Wednesday, the Cowboys owner doubled down on his national anthem stance and defended his team's association with Papa John's and the company's disgraced founder and former CEO.
As usual, the most interesting items coming out of the opening news conference really had nothing to do with football.
Jones defended his association with the pizza chain whose founder has been forced out for using racially insensitive language. Jones owns 120 of the pizza franchises across Texas. He made it clear he doesn't plan on changing that.
“Some teams that I’ve noticed have addressed the Papa John’s issue by distancing themselves do not have the same relationship that the Cowboys have with the Papa John’s business,” he said. “We own the Papa John’s in Texas and feel strongly that our Cowboys are the big face of Papa John’s.”
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been forced out of the company after news came out that he had used the ‘n word’ during a conference call last year. Since then, the NFL has dropped Papa Johns as the league's official pizza.
Other franchises, including the Rangers, have distanced from Papa John's. But Jones says his stake in the company makes his position unique.
Another hot topic at the press conference was the anthem controversy. Jones says his stance remains the same and still expects his players to stand for the anthem before each game. That is in spite of a new league wide directive that would allow players to stay in the locker room.
Jones said, "Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line."
Jones feelings are in sync with president Donald Trump who has called out NFL players who've protested during the anthem. But the Cowboys owner admitted he's not comfortable with this mix of sports and politics.
“His interest and what we’re doing is problematic for my chair and the owner’s chair,” Jones said. “Unprecedented if you really think about it. Everybody would like for it to go away.”
The league and players union have continued talk trying to find a solution that pleases both sides. While Jones says he respects that, he also says that his policy for his players is clear.