Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made waves last week when he announced a team policy that requires every player to stand at attention, “toe on the line,” for the national anthem.
Now, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is clapping back.
“The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, with the old plantation mentality,” Sherman told USA Today during training camp. “What did you expect?”
The anthem protests were started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick back in 2016 as a statement against racial inequality in the United States.
On Tuesday, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called restrictions on players’ rights to protest “a disgrace to the Constitution” and “the opposite of patriotism.”
But many have seen the kneeling as a sign of disrespect to the flag — including President Donald Trump, who has spoken immensely about the NFL issue:
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
Following the backlash, the NFL announced in May that players could either stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room. Then in July, the league retracted that rule and said it will work to find another solution.
The NFL preseason begins August 2, and some players have already begun speaking out about whether they will continue to protest.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott said his whole team was behind the decision to stand for the anthem. Meanwhile, Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said he’ll protest during the anthem even if he gets fined.
According to The Washington Post, 70 percent of NFL players are black, while 94 percent of team owners are white, a stark statistical divide.