And now, Jones has said that if his players opt not to stand during the national anthem, they will not play.
On Sunday, under President Donald Trump's direction, Vice President Mike Pence attended the 49ers-Colts game in Indianapolis and walked out after watching several San Francisco 49ers players kneel. Jones stated that taking a knee during the anthem is showing "disrespect" for the flag in his opinion.
Jones did participate along with players in kneeling before the anthem was played in their game against the Arizona Cardinals on September 25, but said if it came to a decision between supporting each other or the flag, his team would not "disrespect the flag". During the anthem, the Jones family stood arm-in-arm with the players.
Then they locked arms and stood while Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.
Players around the league have been kneeling since the start of last season as a protest against social injustice. "I got to give a big pat on the back to our entire team, our coaching staff, our entire organization", Jones said in a radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday.
"I don't know about that", said Jones, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. He felt that not standing for the flag is disrespectful - I do, too. "We will not disrespect the flag".
Jones said showing respect for the flag and the anthem is more important to him than any potential issues of team unity.
With his the word, "perception" and "implication", Jones made it clear his feelings on anthem protests are largely based on the optics. If we are disrespecting the flag then we won't play, period.
Jones mentioned the requirement in the National Football League game operations manual that players must be on the sideline for the anthem.