Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been vocal on players kneeling during the national anthem since Colin Kaepernick first did it in 2016. His position closely aligned with the NFL. Since George Floyd’s death, the league’s opinion on kneeling has dramatically changed. Jones recently indicated he had adjusted his stance as well. On Sunday night, after more than a month of speculation, the Dallas Cowboys finally revealed the organization’s position on kneeling during the national anthem.
Jerry Jones on Dallas Cowboys’ national anthem stance in 2017
Although Colin Kaepernick first protested racial injustice and police brutality at the start of the 2016 season, the subject largely remained quiet until President Trump brought the issue to the fore at the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.
At that time, Trump suggested that NFL owners respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He’s fired!”
NFL owners responded, and not surprisingly, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was one of the most vocal.
“We cannot in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News. “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.”
NFL changes position; Jones softens his
In early June, days after George Floyd’s death, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the NFL players in response to a player-produced video. He admitted the NFL was wrong for not listening to the players and allowing them to speak out and peacefully protest like Colin Kaepernick.
For much of the summer, Jones was surprisingly quiet and avoided addressing the NFL’s shift on kneeling during the national anthem. When training camp started, Jones began having sessions with the media and appearing for his weekly radio interview. Each time when asked about the topic, he waffled, trying to sound supportive of his players while appeasing his fans.
His most recent position on the Dallas Cowboys and the national anthem came in a recent interview on 105.3 The Fan.
“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. 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 reveal national anthem stance
On Sunday night’s season opener on the road in LA with no fans in the stands, the Cowboys offered a unified message to start with the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the players stood side-by-side each in the end zone. Interestingly, the Rams returned to their locker room for the song’s performance, with the exception of two players.
When both teams returned to the field for the national anthem, a group of Rams players kneeled on either side of quarterback Jared Goff, who was standing with his head bowed and hand over his heart. On the other sidelines, the Dallas Cowboys had a mixed bag.
Some players stood alone like quarterback Dak Prescott. Others stood with their hands over their hearts. The lone player to kneel was Dontari Poe, who said he planned on kneeling since his arrival in Dallas. Up in the owner’s box, Jerry Jones stood with his hand over his heart.
The Dallas Cowboys answered the lingering question about what they would do for the national anthem in 2020 under the leadership of owner Jerry Jones. That question will be asked again next week when the Cowboys play their first home game in front of fans. It could potentially have a very different answer and response.