A local labor union that represents workers in Texas filed a charge on Tuesday against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, alleging he violated the National Labor Relations Act when he vowed to discipline players who choose to protest during the national anthem.
Chief organizer of Local 100 Wade Rathke asked the National Labor Relations Board to “investigate preemptively in order to prevent illegal firings of players,” arguing Jones’ directive violates a clause that prohibits employers from taking action against workers engaging in “concerted activity.”
“Jones through his efforts to bully his playing workforce is attempting to unilaterally establish a previously nonexistent condition of work,” Rathke told the Star-Telegram in a statement announcing the charge.
“The point is he is threatening anybody and everybody,” he continued. “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.”
Jones on Monday bowed to pressure from Trump and others to threaten players who wish to protest during the anthem.
“We’re going to respect the flag, and I’m going to create the perception of it,” Jones said. The president immediately expressed support for Jones’ statement, “saluting” the Cowboys owner over his threat to bench players.
A big salute to Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who will BENCH players who disrespect our Flag.”Stand for Anthem or sit for game!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
Rathke told the Star-Telegram it doesn’t matter what Jones, or the president, have to say about players’ rights to protest.
“The law is the law. And it’s against the law to threaten someone’s job,” Rathke said. “Mr. Jones is way, way, way out of line here. And he needs to get back in his lane.”
Read the full complaint below: