Tuesday morning, during the NFL owners' regularly scheduled meetings in New York, several NFL owners met with representatives from the NFL Players Association and the league to discuss the ongoing issues surrounding player protests and the national anthem.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is in New York, but he wasn't at the meeting, despite being one of the NFL's most outspoken figures with regard to anthem protests.
Despite skipping out on the meeting with players, Jones wasn't able to stay away from the controversy as he waited to attend an owners-only anthem meeting Tuesday afternoon. Shortly before lunch, two protesters approached Jones in the lobby of the Conrad Hotel in Manhattan.
"You treat [the players] like $40 million slaves," the protesters shouted at Jones. "Gladiators paid to beat each other's brains out but have to keep their mouths shut when talking about injustice."
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Initially, Jones appears set on walking past the protesters without stopping, but he eventually stops, listens and smiles at the demonstrators before leaving without saying a word.
After taking a knee with his players before the Cowboys Sept. 25 game against the Cardinals, Jones said last week that any Cowboys player protesting during the anthem will be forced to sit out by the team. After this mornings meeting, the NFLPA and the NFL issued a joint statement claiming the two groups are making progress on balancing players' right to protest with the league's desire that all teams show reverence for the American flag and the national anthem.
"Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military," the joint statement said. "In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change."