Jerry Jones Wants Cowboys to Be 'Part of Change' Amid Social Justice Movement

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2019, file photo, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones waits for the team's NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The NFL Draft is April 23-25. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday he wants the organization to become an agent of change amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Jones discussed his outlook after a series of police shootings, including the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody in May and Sunday's police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Radio in Dallas (via the Cowboys' official website):

"I really want to say how our hearts as an organization, individuals in the organization, how our hearts go out to the individuals and the family members who have been affected by these times, these disheartening times that we've all seen on television. And I want our team to be a part of change. The dramatic change isn't going to happen overnight, but I want our organization and our players to play a part in the movement of making this a better place in this country. I feel confident that our players have a can-do and what-can-I-do participation in it. I want what the Cowboys to help make this a better place."

Jones received criticism for comments Tuesday in which he said he'd seek a compromise with players who were planning to kneel during the national anthem to protest social injustice during the 2020 season. He previously knelt with players before the anthem ahead of a September 2017 game against the Arizona Cardinals and then the group stood for the song.

"And that, at the end of the day, was a recognition that we support our players," he said. "I knelt with our players as you know, on a personal basis, but as a team, we all knelt together before the anthem, and we stood for the anthem to recognize what it's symbol is to America. And I thought that was good. That's the kind of thing that we'll be looking to see if we can implement."

Those remarks came in the wake of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saying he'd "support" players who kneel with no plans for them to face discipline during a conversation with Fox Sports' Emmanuel Acho:

Emmanuel Acho @EmmanuelAcho

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man: The National Anthem Protest- PT. II In Part II: Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, answers whether or not players should be punished for kneeling during the National Anthem. Watch & SHARE. Love y’all ❤️. https://t.co/UAziPYE3D3

It's a far more straightforward answer than four years ago the NFL struggled to handle the kneeling movement started by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

Kaepernick's story was brought back to the forefront in the wake of Floyd's killing, with a new round of calls for the 32-year-old Wisconsin native to receive a second chance in the NFL, but despite speculation about interest he's remained a free agent deep into training camp.

Meanwhile, it's unclear how the Cowboys would handle a player taking a knee for the anthem, a stance defensive tackle Dontari Poe has already said he's planning to take.

"Yeah, I do still plan on kneeling but we haven't had the conversation yet," Poe told reporters Sunday. "Not saying that anybody else is wrong for not doing it or whatever their cause is. But I just felt like I just wanted to do it for me and the statement I wanted to make."

Dallas is scheduled to kick off the regular season Sept. 13 when it visits SoFi Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Rams.