“There is no question the league is suffering negative effects from these protests,” Jones said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
ESPN has reported that ratings are down 7.5 percent from this time last year across the board, and the NFL believes the protests during the national anthem to blame.
Jones also stated that NFL sponsors had expressed “concerns” about the protests and added that it would be hard to have a visible protest if people are tuning out.
“[O]ur ability to be substantive is based on having a strong NFL, a league that people are really interested in and want to watch games,” Jones said. “At all times, if I am anything, I am first and foremost a proponent of making the NFL strong. Making us have as many people watching the game as we can and watching in light of what we are doing and that’s playing football.”
“If all this makes you stronger to represent messages, let’s don’t do it in a way that tears down the strength of the NFL,” he added.
Jones comments come as President Donald Trump continues to berate the NFL and the players taking part in the protests during the national anthem, accusing the protesters of disrespecting the troops and the flag.