Dontari Poe becomes first Cowboys player ever to protest during anthem

USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys had never had a player protest during the playing of the national anthem. Until Sunday.

Defensive tackle Dontari Poe, who arrived as a free agent this offseason, vowed he would kneel, and he did. Assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett, along with defensive linemen Antwaun Woods and Aldon Smith, placed a hand on Poe’s shoulder.

Poe was the team’s only player to protest during the anthem.

NBC cut to a shot of owner Jerry Jones, who had his hand on his heart. Jones has made clear his preference for players to stand during the anthem, with their “toes on the line,” and a few years ago threatened to cut any player who protested.

But times have changed, and Jones’ stance seemed to soften this offseason.

The Rams had more than a dozen players kneel, according to multiple reports, with Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Sebastian Joseph-Day among them.

During the playing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, the Cowboys stood on the field along the end zone. The Rams were in the locker room except for offensive lineman David Edwards and linebacker Micah Kiser, who stood for the song.