Jason Witten reached out to former teammate Dez Bryant on Twitter Monday, attempting to talk to the latter about his feelings regarding the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests. In his post, the tight end said he attempted to give Bryant a call but couldn’t get through.
” I don’t know what you’re feeling,” Witten said, “but I do know what I stand for and believe in. I believe it’s time for change. I believe we must all listen. I believe together is the way. Let’s unite and impact change together. Much Love.”
Not long after Witten sent his post, Bryant gave a response of sorts. The wide receiver — who had tried to make a comeback with the Cowboys earlier in the offseason — retweeted Witten’s statement and used the praying-hands emoji in his own post.
Witten’s comments came amid a conversation on social media Bryant was having with several of his followers. Over the weekend, the former Cowboys receiver was discussing the demonstrations going on across the country. He posted that he felt members of his former team needed to attend some of those protests and get a feel for what was at stake. He specifically named team owner Jerry Jones, Executive Vice President Stephen Jones, and Witten.
In his message to the trio, Bryant said he didn’t believe they needed to go see the protests in order to arrive at a policy change. He said there was a need for a change of heart.
It wasn’t immediately certain why Witten was included with Stephen and Jerry Jones. When Colin Kaepernick protested against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, the Cowboys owner made it clear he didn’t approve. After other players followed suit, the NFL adopted a policy that explicitly prohibited its players from any form of protest during the anthem. The elder Jones was considered by many to be an architect of the rule.
After public pushback against the protest policy, the league softened its stance and never enforced the ban. Last week, in the wake of nationwide protests, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a video apology for not being willing to “listen” to the players who were taking a knee. That video was in response to a group of players who put together their own message to the league wondering what they had to do in order to get ownership to understand what it was they were fighting against.
Since Witten’s response to Bryant, it’s not clear if they have reached out to each other further and discussed the issue.