The national anthem protests in the NFL are not going away anytime soon.
It has yet to be an issue with the Dallas Cowboys. Every player has stood for the anthem since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the movement by kneeling at the beginning of last season.
It is not lost on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ mind, but he said our nation’s flag is important to him and he liked the way his team has handled the situation to date.
“I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday. “So, I feel very strongly, everyone should, save that moment for recognition of the flag in a positive way. So I like the way the Cowboys do it.”
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The Cowboys have chosen to stand as a team. No player has asked to protest, according to a source.
Cornerback Nolan Carroll said he stands to honor his parents, both military veterans.
“I still stand for the national anthem with my hand over my heart,” Carroll said. “The main reason is cause both of my parents were in the military. That is first. My parents allowed me to be where I am now. I do it out of respect to them. I understand. As far as me and what I’m doing, I’m still going to stand.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones explains why the team went with Luke McCown over Colin Kaepernick to be the team's third QB. Video by Drew Davison.
Carroll came to the Cowboys from the Philadelphia Eagles, where safety Malcolm Jenkins joined Kaepernick’s fight against police brutality of people of color in 2016 by raising his fist.
He is continuing his stance during season and was joined by defensive end Chris Long, who put his arm around him while he raised his fist last weekend.
The movement is seemingly getting stronger, spiked by the tragic events during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia two weeks ago.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is sitting during the anthem. The Cleveland Browns had the largest protest Monday night when 12 players kneeled during the anthem.
“At first to me, it was shocking when Kaepernick did it and it started catching on,” Carroll said. “I was thinking guys were going with the flow with it as a fad thing but now I see it as something serious. People don’t understand other people’s individual story, where other people live and what they have been going through and what’s really going out there in society. It is what it is right now until something is changed. You will see more guys do it and I think it will spill over into other sports as well.”
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The rally in Charlottesville prompted Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford to lash out on Twitter, saying racism should be dead by now and he wasn’t just going to stick to sports.
“I’ve been feeling I wanted to voice some of my opinions for a while,” Crawford said. “I was injured, frustrated and exactly what I put in the message, tired of how our generation is starting to look. I just wanted to say it. So I said it.”
Crawford, who is Canadian, said he wouldn’t protest the anthem because “it’s not even my country to do that.”
But he said he understands why the protests are happening.
He prefers to do it another way.
“That’s what they want to do to get their message across,” Crawford said. “I feel like I can send a Twitter message out and relay my message.”
Carroll acknowledges that some players don’t protest because they are scared of losing their job. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant alluded to that on his Twitter account, saying he had a family to feed when criticized about his non-stance on the issue.
Carroll believes more players would do it if they banded together, although he prefers to do it another way. But the message is getting out and people are seeing that football players are more than just entertainers on field.
“More and more people are taking notice and saying this is kind of serious,” Carroll said. “Everybody views football players as just playing on Sundays. Now we are taking a conscious mind to all these things outside of football and making everybody else pay attention as well.”