Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke for the first time since the draft in April. He had many issues to address, but the first was the team’s stance on the national anthem.
Jones always has openly stated the team policy: Players will stand with “their toes on the line.”
The Cowboys are one of the few teams that have never had a player protest during the anthem. Defensive linemen Robert Quinn and Michael Bennett, who have protested in the past with other teams, stood for the anthem in 2019 during their one season in Dallas.
“Everybody in this country knows where I stand and where the Cowboys stand when it comes to the flag,” Jones said Wednesday.
But Jones said much more, initially muddying what his stance and that of the team is.
“The key word . . . is a word called grace. Grace,” Jones said. “That was then, two years ago. This is now. We have had very, very sensitive times. I don’t need to share that we’re also embroiled in a very other sensitive time with the challenge, and the war literally with the virus. 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. 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. Grace. Not only grace in our actions but grace in our understanding of where they’re coming from. I want our players to understand the perception and where they’re coming from regarding the flag and the sensitivity there and the many memories there. And I want our fans to understand and better do because of what’s gone on over the last few months and want them to understand where our players are coming from there, and they do not feel like that the ones who . . . kneel, they do not feel like they’re dishonoring the flag. I’m going to have grace. I’ve had grace. Many of you have written and criticized me for having too much grace and understanding regarding our players, and I probably have. And I’m going to have grace regarding the people that are sensitive about our flag. Somewhere in between there as the weeks, as we get together with our team, as we discuss with the team, somewhere in between there is how we’re going to handle it.”
In other words, Jones acknowledges times have changed. The Cowboys’ stance might change.
The team will discuss the national anthem stance, and Jones will listen.
“We’re going to have grace when we sit here and look at how we’re going to handle it,” Jones said. “I haven’t met to the detail and in depth with our players that I want to. I have talked to literally double handfuls of very, very engaged people. I have had input from ex-presidents. I’ve had input from presidents. I’ve had input from a cross section of our players, former players, and I will continue to have input. This is a very serious matter. We’ve asked for the platform. We have the platform. We’re going to show grace. I’m going to show grace, and I’d to show that kind of grace in every sensitive matter that comes up. Everybody’s genuine here. I’m giving here the benefit of the doubt relative to any decision that I make. I have one thing: My job is to run the Dallas Cowboys. My job is to do what’s right. We’ve asked for all of this interest, and we’ve asked for our players to give everything they’ve got. I want to sit down when I have an issue and I have a decision to make, I want to show the world that I can do it with grace and come up with the right solution.
“I don’t know what we’re going to be faced with here a month from now or two months from now. When it happens, I’m giving you the backdrop of how I’ll make the decision at the time or encourage our players. Our players have always been open ears for anything that I have to offer and I’ve been open-eared with what they have to offer, and that’s what we’ll do.”