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In an offseason where many NFL players have spoken openly about social justice causes, the Atlanta Falcons just took things to the next level. Set to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Matt Ryan and his teammates sent a powerful political message to Jerry Jones’ team. This latest example of athletes lending their voices to important causes certainly deserves praise. Just don’t expect the Cowboys to act civil on Sunday as they try to bounce back from a season-opening defeat.

NFL players have been actively promoting social justice causes

Colin Kaepernick laid the foundation for the social justice movement within the NFL back in 2016. Since then, other NFL players have continued to speak up about issues such as police brutality, racial inequality, and social justice. The conversation intensified this year in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the Jacob Blake shooting.

For Cam Newton, the Blake shooting highlighted significant problems that exist in the United States. He offered his insight when speaking with the media in late August.

“What’s going on in this country of ours at times is extremely disgusting,” Newton said. “And until we find a fix, then more than ever we have to unify as one as much as possible. From the Black Lives Matter campaign to the social injustice, bringing awareness with that, to just everybody becoming more aware of certain things, and not necessarily turning their ear, turning their face with things that are extremely blatant.”

In addition, the social justice movement has sparked campaigns designed to get people to register to vote. NFL players have lent their voices to this effort through different social media initiatives. And on Friday, the Falcons sent a direct challenge to the Cowboys about the topic of voting.

Falcons send a powerful political message to the Cowboys

Just days before they take on the Cowboys in Dallas, the Falcons took to Twitter to send a powerful political message to their upcoming opponent. Second-year guard Chris Lindstrom stood in front of 10 of his teammates and issued a direct challenge to Dallas.

“Hey, America’s Team. We, the Falcons, are committing to getting as many people registered to vote this year. We challenge you, the Cowboys, to do the same,” Lindstrom said.

Veteran defensive end Steven Means then said to “pass the vote” before Ryan threw a football past the camera.

It did not take long for the Cowboys to accept the Falcons’ challenge. Dallas responded with a video post of their own. The Cowboys sent the #PassTheVote message along to the Seattle Seahawks, who host the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

While the Falcons succeeded in getting the Cowboys to accept their challenge, the two teams won’t be on such friendly terms on Sunday.

Dallas and Atlanta won’t be so civil on Sunday

Coming off season-opening losses, both the Cowboys and Falcons have plenty of motivation to play well in Week 2. After all, falling into an 0-2 hole often results in watching the playoffs from home.

The matchup features plenty of star power beyond Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan. Atlanta boasts a fantastic receiver duo in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Dallas counters with a trio of talented pass-catchers in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb.

However, the Cowboys could struggle to move the ball if Tyron Smith cannot suit up. The star left tackle missed practice on Thursday and Friday, which does not bode well for his chances of playing against the Falcons.

For Prescott’s sake, the Cowboys better have a sound backup plan.

If not, it will be a painful home opener in Dallas.

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