Photo credit: Jennifer Stewart/Getty

Jerry Jones—the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, the inventor of the bullshit but diabolically ingenious national anthem protest rebranding scheme, and the odds-on favorite to portray Dobby the House Elf’s great-grandfather in any future Harry Potter sequels—is done pretending. No longer does he feel the need to feign support for the social and political underpinnings of the Colin Kaepernick-inspired anthem protests going around the NFL. Now he can say exactly what he really thinks, which is that any of his players caught acting against injustice during the national anthem in a way that violates Jones’s delicate sensibilities will not play for the Cowboys.

Here’s is how the decrepit and frankly hard to look at billionaire responded to a question about national anthem protests, and specifically about how two Cowboys players stood during the anthem with raised fists, per the Dallas Morning News:

“I don’t know about that. But if there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag then we will not play,” Jones said after the Cowboys’ 35-31 loss. “You understand? If we are disrespecting the flag then we won’t play. Period.

“We’re going to respect the flag, and I’m going to create the perception of it. And we have.”

Later, Jones (who displayed impressive resilience for a man his age staying up so late after his bedtime to speak with reporters for 22 minutes after his team’s loss to the Packers, and for that deserved a big glass of warm milk and a belly rub as he dozed off that night) was asked what he thought of vice president Mike Pence’s expensive PR stunt of leaving the Colts-Niners game after some 49ers players knelt during the anthem:

“We cannot in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones said. “I know the vice president did leave, because in his opinion the teams were. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. Just so we’re clear.

“I’m saying our vice president, if in his opinion, there’s disrespect of the flag then he should express himself however he wants to say. He’s got rights, too. He felt that not standing for the flag is disrespectful. I do, too. The league in my mind should absolutely take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag.”

I could take offense at just how cynical these statements prove Jones to be in the wake of his fake “solidarity” stunt, or I could be offended at his pretty clear threat aimed at silencing his players, or what got my goat could be the gross hypocrisy in how a man perfectly willing to employ and defend a domestic abuser like Greg Hardy finds peaceful demonstrations against racism a bridge too far, but then I look into Jones’s bloated face and see that sallow, papery, blotchy skin and those thick, creased bags under his eyes and the repulsiveness of his physical appearance overwhelms all senses and I’m forced to think about something—anything—else as quickly as possible.

[Dallas Morning News]