Mike McCarthy to Cowboys: 'I'm a White Man, and I'm Trying to Understand'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Players take a knee as Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy speaks during an NFL training camp practice in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Cameron Erving said Friday head coach Mike McCarthy delivered a simple message during a team meeting about racial justice.

"He said it in the meeting, 'I'm a white man, and I'm trying to understand what is truly going on,'" Erving said, per Jori Epstein of USA Today.

McCarthy later told reporters he's trying to listen and learn from his players:

"I don't think I can sit, even though I'm in front of a microphone or in front of the room as the leader of the football team, and even for a second know exactly what the Black community is going through. I think the biggest thing that I can be is honest and, frankly, listen to make sure there is a clear understanding, because I am one of the key communicators in our football operation. Just to make sure that you keep the messaging and the understanding and the support flowing to the players.

"Hopefully, everybody can be part of the progress that obviously needs to happen here."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked Friday about the recent stories involving Black people and police, including the killing of George Floyd in May while in Minneapolis Police custody and the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday in Wisconsin, during an interview on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. He replied:

"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."

Meanwhile, Erving detailed racist experiences from his own past, such as being pulled from his car and handcuffed on the hood for speeding and a seemingly normal interaction at a Tennessee gas station that took a major turn.

"I'm thinking somebody is trying to get my attention to compliment my vehicle because I had just gotten a truck," he said. "Somebody just lets the window down and calls me the N-word. It caught me off guard. It just reminded me: These things do exist. It's just the truth."

The fight for racial equality and the Black Lives Matter movement will likely lead to protests throughout the 2020 NFL season, including the reinvigoration of taking a knee during the national anthem, an effort originally started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

Dallas is scheduled to open the campaign, its first with McCarthy as head coach, Sept. 13 when it travels to SoFi Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Rams.