Cowboys defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who signed with the team this offseason, became the first player on the roster to question his owner’s silence in the 29 days since George Floyd’s murder began real social change.
DeMarcus Lawrence, though, respectfully disagrees. It’s not about Jones, Lawrence claims.
The Cowboys defensive end made his stance clear over the weekend, and after Stephen A. Smith expressed disappointment in Lawrence on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday morning, Lawrence doubled down . . . and then tripled down.
First, Lawrence responded with a long missive on social media.
“My point was that, though he is a person of influence and power, we need to stop relying on others to talk about change, and actually be part of the change,” Lawrence wrote, in part. “This is especially true in our black communities. I understand some people feel compassionate about hearing from him, and that is their choice. My choice is to be part of change.”
The Cowboys drafted Lawrence in the second round in 2014 and signed him to a five-year contract worth $105 million a year ago.
Lawrence reiterated his point in an interview with Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m not going to sit here and take my time and basically shed light on Jerry Jones. That’s not my position,” Lawrence said. “My position is to bring up the youth and give them more ways to find out what they want to become. Once you start asking me on a Black Lives Matter movement and Jerry Jones and the Cowboys — that ain’t none of my concern right now.
“If Jerry Jones comes out and says, ‘I’m racist.’ Then what? What’s the next step in Black Lives Matter? That don’t change nothing. If he comes out, he stands with us, it still don’t matter. It ain’t going to change the results of anything, so I’m going to use my platform to help bring up the youth instead of talking about Jerry Jones.”
The Cowboys have never had a player protest during the national anthem, with Jones having made clear in the past he expects his players to have their toes on the line. Last season, Dallas separately traded for Robert Quinn and Michael Bennett, both of whom previously had protested social injustice during the anthem, and neither protested during the anthem in their season with the Cowboys.
Lawrence said he will support any of his teammates who raise a fist or take a knee during the national anthem this season, but he also wants it understood that there is more to do.
“If they decide they want to take a knee, I’m with them 100 percent, but if they decide not to take a knee, I’m still going to be with them,” Lawrence told Watkins. “I don’t think this is a football issue at all. It’s bigger than football and our football platform has to take us to a another level to achieve what we’re trying to achieve. I’m just trying to listen to everybody and hearing what they got to say.
“Everybody wants to know my stance on protests or my stance on Jerry Jones. I really think it’s unfair. I’m out here putting in the work. I’m seeing people behind Instagram and Twitter just talking. Instead of getting out here trying to make this change.”
Lawrence and McCoy participated in Opal Lee’s walk in Fort Worth on Saturday in her long-time quest to make Juneteenth a national holiday. It is one of several philanthropic campaigns related to COVID-19 and social injustice he has assisted with financially and/or with his presence this offseason.