Donald Trump Kept Cold-Calling Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Ahead of Monday Night Football Game

President Donald Trump reportedly called Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones four times before the team's Monday Night Football game on September 4 to try and influence players not to kneel during the national anthem.

Jones, the oil billionaire turned Cowboys owner and a man who donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration fund, had talked about his desire for the anthem and flag to be respected in the days before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. At the game, Jones and his players linked arms and knelt briefly ahead of the anthem before standing when it was on.

Trump's desire for "America's Team" to honor the anthem was revealed by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Sunday, before the Cowboys lost to the Los Angeles Rams at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. "There were some tense moments [last week]," Rapoport said. "Jerry Jones, before the Cowboys took the field on Monday night was in the locker room. He got four separate calls from President Donald Trump imploring him, please do not have America's Team kneel during the anthem."

This week teams have anthem plans. It was tense last week, with @realDonaldTrump calling Jerry Jones 4 times & imploring him not to kneel:

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 1, 2017

Trump provoked a response across the NFL last weekend after he told a rally in Alabama that team owners should "fire" anyone who decided to kneel during the anthem, with many players doing just that and the Pittsburgh Steelers declining to come out of the locker room altogether while the anthem played in solidarity with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality towards minorities in the United States.

Protests this past week and weekend, though, mostly followed the Cowboys' model. In London, at Wembley Stadium, the New Orleans Saints took a knee as a collective before the anthem then rose to acknowledge it. Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas from the Saints' opponents, the Miami Dolphins, knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner. In the U.S., Marshawn Lynch arrived before the Oakland Raiders' defeat to the Denver Broncos at Mile High in an, "Everybody vs. Trump" T-Shirt, The Washington Post reported. Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers quarterback, raised his fist after scoring a rushing touchdown against the New England Patriots.

Trump, who attended the Presidents Cup golf tournament over the weekend, still found time to worry about the NFL. "Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!" Trump tweeted on Saturday. The president's fretfulness hardly seems to have waned since his extraordinary badgering of Jones on Monday night.