Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—who was seen kneeling before standing for the national anthem with his arms locked with players during “Monday Night Football”—explained the move.
“I made my mind up on this issue that I wasn’t going to comment,” Jones told the Dallas News. “I want actions to be louder than words. And we did it. We made our statement.”
“I’ve never been more proud” of the players and coaching staff regarding the fracas over the national anthem, Jones said after the Monday night game, Fox Sports reported.
“The reason that I’m particularly proud … is because we all agreed that our players wanted to make a statement about unity and we wanted to make a statement about equality,” Jones said.
“The message of equality was pushed aside by the controversy” over the national anthem, Jones said. “It was being made into a controversy,” he said, adding that it’s to the players “credit” to “walk out there.”
“We did alert the NFL what we were going to be doing,” he said.
— Brandon Pope TV (@BpopeTV) September 26, 2017
As the Cowboys took knees before the anthem, the crowd at the University of Phoenix Stadium booed.
The team then went to the sideline as the U.S. flag was being unfurled. The Cowboys and the Jones family then stood as the national anthem was sung.
— Edward Egros (@EdwardEgrosFox4) September 26, 2017
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump said that NFL players should stand for the national anthem, prompting about 200 players on Sunday to take a knee, raise their fists, or sit during the national anthem.
“Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!” Trump tweeted.
The anthem protests were started when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during preseason games, drawing intense media scrutiny. Kaepernick and others said they were protesting against police brutality and racism in the United States. But many critics have said that the protest shows disrespect to the national anthem and the United States itself.
Trump also commented on the Dallas Cowboys “protest.”
“The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger,” the president said. “But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem. Big progress being made-we all love our country!”
Coach Jason Garrett also commented on the move.
“It’s been an interesting 48 hours for everybody,” Garrett told the Dallas News. “The objectives as much as anything else was to some how, some way to demonstrate unity and equality and do so without anyway involving the American Flag and the national anthem. It took a lot of conversation of how to do that.”
According to the Dallas News, Jones was one of at least nine NFL owners to donate to Trump’s inaugural committee. He donated $1 million.
The Arizona Cardinals didn’t protest but locked arms.
The Cowboys beat the Cardinals 28-17.