OXNARD, Calif. - The annual training camp chat between FOX 4’s Mike Doocy and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not happen this year.
Right before their time to talk, the Cowboys told Doocy he could not ask any questions about the national anthem policy. Doocy said, “No thanks.”
“If you don’t want me to sit in this chair I won’t sit in this chair,” Jones said.
“Okay, alright,” Doocy said.
“That’s good,” Jones said.
Doocy said he has no hard feelings against Jones but was upset that the restrictions came with little warning. It was only after Doocy declined that they then said the NFL made the requirements.
“In some ways I’m violating my own policy here. I’ve always felt its better even if there are conditions put on an interview to talk to the newsmaker to get some information out of them that would be of value to viewers,” he said. “So if I let you down I apologize. I just couldn’t accept the way it happened in this particular case.”
Jones’ remarks at the Cowboys camp news conference last week might have bene the last we hear from him regarding the anthem policy for some time. He drew the ire of the NFL when he declared his players must stand for the anthem.
It was a departure from the policy NFL owners had decided on in May that players on the field should stand. But those who want to stay in the locker room as a form of protest will not be penalized.
Even that policy is currently on hold while the NFL and players’ association meet confidentially to work out a new anthem agreement.
Michael Lysko, a former Canadian football league commissioner, says the NFL is likely banning Jones from commenting to avoid jeopardizing those talks.
“I think it's always better for the league to have a common voice,” Lysko said. “It’s always better for the league to work with the PA to sort issues out.”
Lysko says its critical the NFL and players’ union reach an agreement on the anthem. Some surveys say the anthem protests and debate surrounding it were behind a drop in TV ratings last season.
“It doesn't make their job easy at all to have even their owners who are supposed to be on their side, doing things counter to what they are trying to do collectively,” Lysko said.
For now, Jones been following the NFL's decree to stay silent on the anthem and refused to take questions on the topic in interviews on Sunday.
If the NFL and players’ union are to reach an agreement on an anthem policy, that could happen very soon. Preseason starts on Thursday.