Richard Sherman says Jerry Jones has an 'old plantation mentality' about anthem policy
Last week, Richard Sherman called initial talks between the NFL and the NFLPA regarding the league's national anthem policy "encouraging." The veteran defensive back, and a vice president on the NFLPA's executive committee, went so far as to call the league officials involved in the discussions "open and amicable" to finding a resolution over the disputed policy, which requires players to stand or remain in the locker room during the anthem.
His cordiality does not appear to extend to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Sherman, who signed with the San Francisco 49ers this offseason after seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, minced no words when asked by reporters Monday about Jones' public remarks in which he said he'd require Cowboys players to stand during the national anthem, "toe on the line."
"The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, with the old plantation mentality," Sherman said of Jones. "What did you expect?"
Sherman joined Malcolm Jenkins, who called Jones "a bully" last week in regards those comments, in harshly criticizing Dallas' owner - although it was hardly out of character for the outspoken cornerback.
Sherman was an early supporter of the players' movement and its originator, Colin Kaepernick, speaking openly about the matter since protests against police brutality and social injustice began in 2016. The Seahawks were among the first teams to demonstrate as a team, linking arms as a show of "unity" that season. Several other teams followed suit the following season after President Trump in September 2017 called players who knelt "son[s] of bitch[es]" and said those who don't stand should be fired.
In response, Sherman condemned the president's behavior as "unacceptable" while calling for NFL owners to speak out against Trump's attacks on players. Few owners did, while others, such as Jones, expressed a strong desire for players to stand for the anthem and use their voices as professional athletes away from the field - if at all.
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair went a step further, saying in a meeting, "We can't have the inmates running the prison," as the protests continued in the weeks after the president's comments and tweets. That statement drew immediate backlash and a quick apology from McNair. But Sherman said the owner shouldn't have apologized, saying McNair "meant what [he] said. Showing true colors allows [people] to see you for who you are."
Sherman, for his part, has not knelt during the anthem in the two seasons since the protest movement began.
Jones, meanwhile, likely will not be responding to Sherman's comments any time soon, after the NFL reportedly told him not to bring up the anthem controversy anymore. That gag order already has resulted in one canceled interview, when sports reporter Mike Doocy of Dallas's Fox affiliate opted not to go forward with his annual sit-down with Jones on Sunday night once told the topic was off the table.
"As it turns out, tonight at the last second before we were getting ready to record our interview, we were told by Jerry and his public relations staff that the national anthem issue would be off limits," Doocy informed viewers later. "The fact we were told that at the last minute and that conditions were put on the interview in that way, I just didn't feel comfortable going on with it."
Doocy also said he didn't "want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is," and expressed appreciation for how accessible Jones has made himself to reporters over the years.
Doocy wasn't the only Dallas sports personality speaking about Jones after the owner's comments last week. Dale Hansen, a sports anchor for Dallas' ABC affiliate, took a much more critical stance against the owner and his stance - among other topics - after attending Cowboys practice on Saturday.
"Jones loves and respects the national anthem so much, that when it was being played before the start of practice Saturday, he left his cap on. And when he was told about the mistake he was making, he still left his cap on," Hansen said. "He who makes the rules, apparently doesn't have to follow them."
Either way, Jones isn't likely to change his mind - unless the league issues an order regarding that as well.
This article was written by Bryan Flaherty, a reporter for The Washington Post.