Report: NFL Owners May Follow Lead of Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Social Justice

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2020

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones prior to an NFL football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

As protests happen around the United States and the world condemning systemic racism and police brutality—and as NFL players and commissioner Roger Goodell have released statements about those issues—one very prominent voice in the football world has remained silent: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

And until he makes a public statement, other league owners may also remain in the background, as ESPN's Dianna Russini said Thursday on First Take after speaking with an NFL head coach on the topic.

"He said, 'Everything falls in line with Jerry Jones,'" she reported. "All eyes are on him. He is the most vocal owner in the league. And not only is he the most vocal leader, there are numerous owners that listen to him. He mentors them. What Jerry does, they do. And until he makes that move, the dominoes can't start falling."

Last week, a number of black NFL players released a video demanding that the NFL issue a statement that acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement and that the league silenced players who peacefully protested in the past. 

Saquon Barkley @saquon

✊🏾 https://t.co/ltJwmjVVMW

Goodell later released a video that almost nearly mirrored the statement the players requested; however, he didn't say the league silenced players and instead said the NFL didn't do a good enough job of listening:


We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange https://t.co/ENWQP8A0sv

One of the silenced players being referenced was Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games in 2016 as a protest of racial discrimination and police brutality. After becoming a free agent the following offseason, he has gone unsigned, with many people believing he was blackballed from the league for his political beliefs. 

Jones was a vocal critic of players who kneeled during the anthem, saying in 2017 that any player who "disrespects the flag" wouldn't be allowed to play.

"We cannot in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag," he added. "We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag."

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman publicly called out Jones and a number of other NFL owners for their current silence on Wednesday. 

"Jerry Jones, especially, has no problem speaking up any other time about anything else," Sherman said. "But when it's such a serious issue, and he could really make a huge impact on it with a few words, his silence speaks volumes."