Ezekiel Elliott thinks that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones won’t be upset if he or his teammates decide to kneel during the National Anthem during their Week 1 tilt against the Los Angeles Rams. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk wrote on Tuesday that the running back also said he expects there will indeed be a few members of the organization who will indeed take a knee.
Elliott appeared on the PFTPM Podcast and said that while he doesn’t know exactly who, some Cowboys players will kneel in order to protest racism and police brutality before the season opener. He added that whatever is done, it won’t be a team-wide situation but rather one based on what each individual player wants to do.
“I think we’re going to have guys kneeling, we’re going to have guys standing, and the biggest thing is that we’re all supporting each other,” Elliott told the podcast hosts. “We’re all supporting each other and that’s what’s going to bring us all together.”
Expounding on what fans can expect to see Sunday night, he was asked whether or not the organization’s owner is going to have a problem with it. Elliott said he believes Jones will be “ok” with peaceful, silent protests, even during the anthem.
Elliott said he thinks everyone in the locker room agrees with him. He added he believes everyone on the team, regardless of their actions, is going to be allowed to express themselves however they see fit.
The running back’s comments came into direct conflict with what the Cowboys’ owner has said in the past. In past years, ownership and the front office have tried to come up with ways to hold demonstrations that wouldn’t directly conflict with standing during the anthem. That included standing on the sidelines, arm-in-arm.
Elliot’s remarks also came less than a week after Jones had spoken on the issue of protesting before a game himself. He said he didn’t believe there would be a great deal of angst between himself and the players when it came to that issue.
He added he still didn’t like the idea of doing anything other than making sure everyone would stand during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.
Smith pointed out that the situation in the U.S. and temperament of the country has changed quite a bit in just the last year when it comes to social justice issues. While the organization’s leadership may not love the idea of protests before the game, Elliott could be right in thinking there won’t be any kind of punishment or repudiation if they are carried out.