Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be investigated after a Texas labor union filed a charge accusing him of violating the National Labor Relations Act by threatening his players if they protest during the national anthem, The Star-Telegram reports.
Local 100 of the United Labor Unions filed the complaint with the Fort Worth office asking the National Labor Relations Board to “investigate preemptively in order to prevent illegal firings of players.”
The union says Jones violated the act, which bans employers from threatening or intimidating employees for their “concerted activity.”
“Jones through his efforts to bully his playing workforce is attempting to unilaterally establish a previously nonexistent condition of work,” Wade Rathke, the union’s chief organizer, said in a statement.
Rathke said benching a football player is not different from outright firing him under the act.
“Either way it’s a threat and you can’t threaten someone’s job for concerted activity,” Rathke told the Star-Telegram. “The point is he is threatening anybody and everybody. We are trying to send Mr. Jones a message that there is a law here. The law here is that you have the ability to act with your co-worker. You can’t just roll over someone’s rights when they are a worker.”
“You can’t bully workers on the job. President (Donald) Trump might not get that. Jones might be confused. But these are workers with rights with the National Labor Relations Board.”
The board in Fort Worth will assign a field agent to investigate the complaint.
Jones spoke after the Cowboys’ game Sunday and said that he will bench any player who “disrespects the flag” by not standing during the national anthem.
“We cannot … in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones told reporters. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
“There is no room here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other,” Jones said. “We will not disrespect the flag.”
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
“The league in mind should absolutely take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag,” he added.
According to CBS Sports, NFL owners will consider creating such a rule at their fall meeting in New York next week.
“I think everyone at this point is frustrated by this situation,” NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart told reporters this week. “The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand.”