The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most popular sports franchises in the world. When the organization says or does something, people take notice. That’s why for months, the eyes of the NFL — owners, players, and fans — have focused on Big D and owner Jerry Jones to see what the Cowboys players would do during the national anthem.
During Week 1 in an empty stadium in LA against the Rams, all Cowboys players stood during the anthem, with the exception of defensive lineman Dontari Poe. In Week 2, many wondered how the Cowboys players would act in their first home game in front of fans and how the fans would respond. We have our answer.
Jerry Jones has changed his position on kneeling
In 2017, when President Trump brought up the issue of players kneeling during the national anthem, many NFL owners remained silent. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wasn’t one of them.
“We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News at the time.
Following the death of George Floyd in May and the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell changing its position on kneeling, Jones was forced to reassess. In the last month, the Cowboys owner modified his position to one that was still appealing to his fan base but more supportive of the players.
“If our players are there, they are sensitive to and respect what America is as it relates to the flag. I’ll assure you that,” Jones said in an interview on 105.3 The Fan. “I’d hope that our fans — and I think they will — understand that our players have issues that they need help on. They need help from the majority of America. And we want to be an agent of that.”
Dallas Cowboys display a mixed bag during national anthem in Week 1
In the Dallas Cowboys’ season-opening game on the road against the LA Rams in the new SoFi Stadium with no fans, the team offered a different look during the pregame ceremonies.
Before the national anthem was played, the Dallas Cowboys showed solidarity as the players stood side-by-side in the end zone during the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” or the Black national anthem. Interestingly, the Rams players returned to their locker room for the song’s performance, except for two players.
During the playing of the national anthem, Cowboys players displayed a variety of stances. Some players like quarterback Dak Prescott stood alone, hands at their side. Others stood with their hands over their hearts. The lone player to kneel was defensive lineman Dontari Poe, who said he planned on kneeling since his arrival in Dallas. Jerry Jones stood up in the owner’s box with his hand over his heart.
Dallas Cowboys fans boo but not during national anthem
After Dontari Poe was the lone Cowboys player to kneel in Week 1 in LA, the same was expected when the Cowboys returned home to play the team’s first home game in front of fans. And it’s exactly what happened. Poe was once again the single Dallas player to kneel during the anthem.
Cowboys fans didn’t boo. At least not Dontari Poe. They saved their booing for the first quarter of action when the Cowboys offense fumbled three times in 10 plays from scrimmage. When Ezekiel Elliott fumbled a second time and lost it, a hearty chorus of boos showered the field.
When the Atlanta Falcons offense capitalized on the Dallas mistake to go up 14-0, the approximately 20,000 fans in attendance showed their displeasure with another round of boos.
Coming into the contest, the Cowboys and Jerry Jones were concerned how fans would respond if Poe or any other players kneeled during the national anthem. What they soon discovered is fans are less concerned about the players kneeling and more interested in the product put on the field. And based on what the Cowboys produced in that first quarter, it’s cause for much greater concern than any single player kneeling during the national anthem.