Whether you love the Dallas Cowboys or can’t stand ‘America’s Team,’ every football fan knows Jerry Jones. For better or worse, the club’s owner and general manager has never been shy about sharing his opinion on any topic. This offseason, however, he didn’t seem too interested in discussing players protesting during the national anthem.
While he finally addressed those potential protests earlier in August, Jerry Jones won’t be able to avoid revisiting the topic at least once. One of his Dallas Cowboys players is ready to sit down with the owner and hash things out.
Jerry Jones’ previous comments about national anthem protests
During the 2016 NFL season, Colin Kaepernick made national news by taking a knee during the national anthem. Since then, virtually every power-player in football, including Jerry Jones, has shared an opinion on the protests.
As documented by a 2017 Bleacher Report post, Jones took a hard line against national anthem protests. “We cannot in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” the owner explained at the time. “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.”
Earlier this August, Jones revisited the issue of national anthem protests. While he didn’t give any specifics this time, the Cowboys owner took a bit of a different tone.
“These are very sensitive times. I have nothing to prove as far as where I’m standing with the flag and where the Cowboys stand,” Jones explained. “I have nothing to prove regarding my players and my support of our players. What I do want to show and want us all to be a part of is a word called grace.”
He went on to say that grace, in this situation, involved a mutual understanding. From Jones’ perspective, players have to “understand the perception and where they’re coming from regarding the flag”; at the same time, fans need to understand why the players feel the need to protest.
Dontari Poe already has plans to kneel in 2020
During the 2020 offseason, Dontari Poe signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Despite Jerry Jones’ previous stance on kneeling during the national anthem, the nose tackle made it clear that he wanted to hear from his new boss.
“Haven’t talked to Jerry at all,” Poe told Kalyn Kahler of Bleacher Report. “I hope he comes out and shows his support. … You are an owner of an NFL team—you get what I’m saying? The majority of this team are these people that are being oppressed. So even if you are not going to be in the forefront, we need to know we have your support in that type of way.”
During his time with the Atlanta Falcons, Poe took a knee during the national anthem. While no individual player in Cowboys history has ever done so—the team, including Jerry Jones once kneeled together, but that was billed as a show of unity rather than a protest— he said that he was “definitely leaning toward” in early July.
Dontari Poe still plans to talk to Jerry Jones about protesting
Since Dontari Poe made those initial comments, Jerry Jones addressed the media about showing grace. The Cowboys owner, however, will have to readdress the topic at least once in the near future.
“Yeah, I do still plan on kneeling, but we haven’t had the conversation yet,” Poe recently explaind, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But we had a team meeting where [Jones] kind of expressed a couple of feelings, and he always told us he had an open door for us to talk to him at anytime, so I look forward to taking advantage of that and just getting in his ear and seeing how he’s feeling about it.”
At this point, no one other than Jerry Jones himself knows how he’ll react during that conversation with Poe or when the nose tackle takes a knee during the season. It is obvious, however, that the Cowboys owner won’t be able to avoid the conversation about national anthem protests as the NFL season draws near.