Dontari Poe Plans to Kneel During Anthem, Would Be 1st Cowboys Player to Kneel

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Dontari Poe kneels down on the field before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Dontari Poe said Sunday he plans to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic.

The Cowboys have never had a player kneel during the anthem, but Poe said he plans to speak with owner Jerry Jones before Week 1.

The 30-year-old is heading into his first season in Dallas after signing as a free agent in March.

The eight-year NFL veteran has spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, earning two Pro Bowl selections along the way.

Poe took a knee during the anthem in 2017 while a member of the Falcons following criticism of protesting from President Donald Trump. Jones was vehemently against kneeling during the anthem and didn't allow any players to take part in the act three years ago.

"There's one way to do it right in our mind, and that's go toes on the line and stand for the anthem," Jones said in 2017. "...This is an organizational thing. We feel strongly about it."

The discussion has reignited this offseason following worldwide movements in favor of racial justice, with even commissioner Roger Goodell changing his stance on the anthem.

Poe also called out Jones for his silence regarding Black Lives Matter messaging, via Bleacher Report's Kalyn Kahler:

"His silence definitely means a lot because in any other situation [he] will have something to say about most things. I was once a proponent of doing stuff behind closed doors, and doing what I need to do not out in the forefront. ... So hopefully he is doing that, but who knows what he is doing. ... Personally, I would hope that he comes out and says, 'OK, I am willing to help, I am willing to fight, and I am willing to be with y'all.'"

Jones did promise "grace" in discussing the protest with players who kneel this season, per Damon R. Marx of the Dallas Morning News, which will now presumably include Poe.