Jerry Jones made a statement with the entire Dallas Cowboys team on Monday, taking a knee before the start of the national anthem as part of a show of unity.
The team-wide act was one of the largest on a weekend that saw protests spread across the league in response to Donald Trump’s criticism on Friday. During a rally in Alabama, Trump called on NFL owners to fire any players who decided to take a knee during the national anthem, a demonstration started last year by Colin Kaepernick in protest of police brutality of minorities.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!” Trump said (via CNN). “Total disrespect of our heritage, a total disrespect of everything that we stand for. Everything that we stand for.”
Many had looked to the Cowboys owner to see what he would do on Monday, as Jones was one of just two owners who did not issue a statement against Trump’s comments. It turned out that Jones would be one of two owners to actually join his players in protest — following the example of Jacksonville’s Shad Khan, who also took a knee with players before their game in London.
As the New York Post noted, Jones had been one of the biggest supporters of Donald Trump in the NFL but broke sharply with the president on the player protests. Jones told ESPN (via the New York Post) that the players were taking a knee “as a statement of equality and representation of unity.”
Jerry Jones joining his Dallas Cowboys players in protest may have come as a surprise to many, as a viral report circulated this weekend claiming that Jones forbid his players from taking part in the protests. The post was made by a Facebook page called Cowboys Nation and was posted last year. It claimed that Jones assembled players and told them they would not be allowed to protest.
“You are all simply paid performers on a stage and that field is my stage! You will stand, with your hand over your heart and with respect, when our Country’s National Anthem is being played or you will no longer be a Dallas Cowboy, a Coach for the Dallas Cowboys or have any association with the Dallas Cowboy Organization! I will immediately fire you, no matter who you are!”
But as KSAT pointed out, the viral post was fake and Jerry Jones never spoke about forbidding players from taking part in national anthem protests.
The Dallas Cowboys team’s act of unity alongside Jerry Jones at the national anthem went viral almost immediately, as many had been looking to see what “America’s Team” would do in response to Trump’s comments — especially in the week’s biggest stage on Monday Night Football.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]