During a radio appearance on Friday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was given the opportunity to respond to the recent comments from Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James regarding his appearance in a 1957 photo outside of North Little Rock High School as Black students attempted to integrate the school.
Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, when asked directly if he heard James' comments and hoped to meet with him, Jones gave an answer that only praised James and did not address the issues raised by the NBA superstar.
"I don't know of anybody I respect more," the 80-year-old said of James, adding that he "would have made a great tight end" before closing with, "And I did hear what he had to say." When asked if he had any further thoughts, Jones did not elaborate beyond continuing to praise the 37-year-old forward.
Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked today on <a href="https://twitter.com/1053thefan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@1053thefan</a> about LeBron James' critique of media coverage toward a 1957 photo that shows Jones watching as white students impeded Black students from entering North Little Rock High School.<br><br>Jones responded only with praise for James. <a href="https://t.co/MHk6Cjt1qn">https://t.co/MHk6Cjt1qn</a> <a href="https://t.co/XinCxoBYfP">pic.twitter.com/XinCxoBYfP</a>
Last month, David Maraniss and Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote an in-depth profile of Jones as part of the Black Out series on the lack of diversity in NFL head coaches. The profile detailed how the North Little Rock, Arkansas native stood outside his high school among white students who were blocking six Black students as they attempted to enter and enroll.
On Wednesday after a win over the Portland Trail Blazers, James questioned reporters in his post-game press conference over what he believes is a double standard regarding the media's coverage of the published photo of Jones compared to the situation surrounding Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving.
"I got one question for you guys before you guys leave," James said. "I was thinking when I was on my way over here, I was wondering why I haven't gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo. But when the Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that."
Irving had been suspended earlier in the year for his promotion of an antisemitic film and his refusal to denounce the beliefs contained in it. James was asked to give his thoughts on the matter, as were other NBA superstars at the time.
Jones addressed his appearance in the photo last week, saying he was not an active participant in the 1957 protest against the Black students.
"I didn't know at the time the monumental event really that was going on," Jones said. "I'm sure glad that we're a long way from that. I am. That would remind me [to] just continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen."
However, James raised an issue with the lack of attention the photo garnered, saying, "I know it was years and years ago and we all make mistakes, I get it—but it seems like it's just been buried under, like, 'Oh, it happened. OK, we just move on.' And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven't received that question from you guys."
While Jones acknowledged that he heard James' comments, his inability to respond to the main concerns he expressed likely will not sit well with many people.