Jones, along with the rest of the Cowboys, knelt prior to the anthem at Monday night’s game, but was standing for the anthem once it began playing. It’s unclear what the substance of Trump’s conversation was from this tweet, but one interpretation would be that the president was offering directives to the owner of a private corporation about how to handle his employees’ speech.
The concept of “free speech” gets used incorrectly about 99 percent of the time on the internet, but if the government is attempting to influence Americans’ speech in any way, this would very much fall under the category of violating one’s right to free speech.
Regardless, Trump continues to beat the drum against the NFL; it’s a concept of America-first-and-America-only patriotism that plays well for his base. It’s worth noting, however, that the players are protesting racial strife and police brutality; they’re not protesting the flag, the military, or America itself, despite how some have framed the issue.
NFL fans can be forgiven for being weary of the entire anthem debate. But it continues to dominate headlines, in large part because the White House continues to stick to sports.