Jerry Jones Wary Of Upsetting Fans If Cowboys Kneel During Anthem
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said that he is "concerned about upset fans turning off the Cowboys if they believe the players are disrespecting the flag and nation" by protesting during the national anthem, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM. Though Jones is "seemingly tacitly approving his players right to kneel in protest for social justice during the national anthem, he continues to acknowledge his personal reservations." Jones yesterday said that he "believes it's a bigger issue with Cowboys fans than with fans of any other team." Jones: "That is a huge issue. Huge." He added, "That's exactly why I have said that I want our players to be very sensitive to just how important it is to the majority of our fans, more than any other team, the majority of our fans are sensitive in recognizing what this great country is and what this flag stands for. Everybody knows where I stand. And there's no equivocation there at all." Hill notes Jones "made it clear that if any Cowboys player decides to protest, they will do [so] with an understanding of that sensitivity in mind." Jones said, "It's all about trying hard to move the ball forward to see where the other guy is coming from. Not necessarily to agree, but to see where he is coming from" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/9).
CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED: In Dallas, Calvin Watkins notes Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott "believes some of his teammates will take a knee during the national anthem when the season starts Sunday night." The police shootings of George Floyd and Jacob Blake over the summer "prompted several Cowboys players to rethink their positions on protesting during the national anthem to raise awareness of police brutality." Elliott said, "We're going to have guys kneeling, we're going to have guys standing, and the biggest thing is we're all supporting each other. We're all supporting each other and that's what’s going to bring us all together" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/9).
TURNING POINT: ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic Jr. said Jones’ comments “actually may be the most coherent he’s been on the subject. I don’t know if the response has necessarily been as welcoming as we’d like, but that is 2020 and what comes with the territory” (“Chiney & Golic Jr.,” ESPN Radio, 9/8). CBS’ Phil Simms said, "There is no doubt in my mind the owners are with the players now, the league is. They’re going to create change with a lot of things they’re doing to help their communities" ("Inside The NFL," Showtime, 9/8).
WHAT TO EXPECT: CBSSN’s Jonathan Jones said there will be "a lot of kneeling" and "a lot of raised fists throughout week one" and tomorrow night for the Texans-Chiefs opener. But Jones said he did not believe there would be game boycotts similar to what happened in the NBA in recent weeks. There is "no protection for players in the newly negotiated CBA when it comes to striking, and, from what I’ve heard from veterans around the league and sources within the league and the union, a lot of these players are more focused on actionable items where they can leverage political power in order to hold police officers and those who overstep their bounds more accountable” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 9/8).