Jerry Jones dealt a devastating blow to his fan base when the Dallas Cowboys announced they will not offer season tickets this year. But those who do venture to AT&T Stadium this season will get a chance to not only see Jones’ team take the field but also possibly take a knee during the national anthem.
Over the last few months, social justice issues and national anthem protests have been heavily discussed in Dallas by both players and Jones himself. On Tuesday, the 77-year-old owner sent another strong message about Cowboys players kneeling.
Cowboys players have been vocal about social justice and anthem protests
Colin Kaepernick started a dialogue by taking a knee in 2016. While the peaceful form of protest essentially cost him his NFL career, other players have followed in his footsteps in an effort to raise awareness about police brutality, racial inequality, and social justice issues.
When it comes to the Cowboys, two new faces made headlines for their strong stances on kneeling during the anthem. Gerald McCoy called out Jerry Jones for staying silent in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The veteran defensive tackle put everything in perspective back in June on an appearance on ESPN.
“At this point it’s bigger than football,” McCoy said. “We need him to speak up about life. This is about human beings and equal rights, and that’s not what’s happening.”
Jones then got called out by Dontari Poe, who the team also signed this offseason. The 2012 first-round pick also criticized his new boss for staying silent. In addition, Poe expressed that he plans on kneeling during the national anthem this season. Of course, that could prove problematic given Jerry Jones’ comments about the peaceful form of protest.
Jerry Jones has addressed players kneeling this offseason
Though he took a knee himself in 2017, Jerry Jones did so as a way to compromise with his team. Instead of kneeling during the anthem, the Cowboys did so prior to the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” However, in a year where George Floyd and Jacob Blake have become recognizable names in the social justice movement, that has led to even more discussions about NFL players protesting this season.
On Aug. 25, Jones made an appearance on 105.3 The Fan to discuss his desire to achieve a similar compromise as the one he reached with his team three years ago.
“I knelt with our players, as you know, on a personal basis,” Jones explained. “But as a team, we all knelt together before the anthem, and then we stood for the anthem to recognize what its symbol is to America. I thought that was good. That’s the kind of thing that we’ll be looking to see if we can implement.”
With Poe already publicly declaring his intention to kneel during the anthem, Jones created a potential problem with his comments. After all, will Cowboys players put their jobs in jeopardy if they go against their owner’s wishes? Ultimately, though, if Dallas players do kneel, they could cause a “huge issue” for someone other than Jerry Jones.
Jones sends another strong message about Cowboys players kneeling
Though the Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl title since 1996, they still have a loyal fan base that tunes in every week to see Jerry Jones’ team take the field. While the 77-year-old owner has certainly made mistakes during his tenure, that has never stopped him from trying everything possible to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Dallas.
Even in a year that will feature plenty of empty stadiums, that has not stopped Jones from considering how his players kneeling could impact Cowboys fans. During Tuesday’s appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Jones was asked about fans turning away from the team if they see players protest during the anthem. He provided a blunt assessment of the situation while sending a strong message about the importance of understanding.
“That is a huge issue,” Jones said. “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 how sensitive they are recognizing what this great country is and what this flag stands for.”
In addition, Jones said he is confident that both players and fans can come together “for grace.”
“It’s all about trying hard to move the ball forward to see where the other guy is coming from,” Jones said. “Not necessarily to agree, but to see where he is coming from.”