DALLAS (CN) – A labor union has withdrawn a National Labor Relations Board complaint against the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones over his threat to punish players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.
Local 100 of the United Labor Unions said Friday it withdrew the complaint after a well-publicized meeting this month between National Football League owners and players, in which they discussed shifting the focus from protesting during the anthem to more social reforms, ESPN first reported.
The union’s chief organizer Wade Rathke said the union will “immediately refile these charges with the NLRB” if Jones threatens or disciplines his players on the issue.
Jones became the first NFL owner to explicitly threaten discipline players for the practice when he told reporters after a 31-35 loss to the Green Bay Packers that “we will not disrespect the flag.”
The union’s Oct. 10 complaint accused Jones of “attempting to threaten, coerce and intimidate all Dallas Cowboys players on the roster in order to prevent them from exercising concerted activity” protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
Rathke said in a statement: “We are hopeful that Jones has learned that there are legal limits that guide his treatment of his workforce and rights that cannot be abridged, regardless of his own personal opinion.
“We will continue to monitor this closely. We hope a lesson was learned, and that we had some small impact on this debate, and the actions of the NFL doing the right thing.”
Individual Cowboys players have yet to kneel during the anthem, although two have held up a fist at the end of the song. Defensive end David Irving has not been disciplined for doing so, but defensive end Damontre Moore was released last week.
Cowboys officials denied that Moore was cut from the team for that.
Jones remains unapologetic for his support for the anthem, telling CBS Radio KRLD-FM on Friday that he believes the Cowboys fan base “unquestionably, without even blinking, wants and expects” players to stand for the anthem.
Local 100’s announcement came four days after it settled a racial discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. The agency claims the union fired two employees because they are black, after hiring them in 2014 to recruit public school employees in Houston. Local 100 agreed to pay $30,000 to settle the claims and to implement policies and training to prevent racial discrimination, the agency said in a statement.