Fans express their opinions on NFL player protests during the National Anthem before the Dallas Cowboys vs. Phoenix Cardinals game. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com
Fans express their opinions on NFL player protests during the National Anthem before the Dallas Cowboys vs. Phoenix Cardinals game. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com

Dallas Cowboys

Dissecting how the Cowboys created a way to protest without protesting

September 25, 2017 08:51 PM

UPDATED September 25, 2017 09:33 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz.

It turns out the reports of the Dallas Cowboys passing on making any statement, or protesting, in regards to the recent comments made by President Donald J. Trump was just to make more fake news.

Perhaps those reports were planted by Russian hackers.

Of the 32 NFL franchises, America’s Team figured to be a potential holdout in the trending protest movement against not the national anthem, not the troops, not America, but rather the now infamous “SOB” comments made by Mr. Trump at a rally on Friday.

Rather than say nothing, which was the Cowboys’ preference, they played ball. Because despite whatever inner thoughts Jerry Jones has on this subject, he does not want to be on the wrong side of history.

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He doesn’t have to like it, but the Cowboys creatively found a way to appease both sides in this politically charged, over-sensitive time we currently reside. This was a business decision all the way.

Before the kickoff between his Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals, there was Jones locked arm-in-arm with his players and staff on the University of Phoenix field. Then they all dropped to a knee.

Some people booed, but not too many. It felt like being at a zoo, “What are the pelicans going to do?”

Then they all stood up. And then the national anthem began.

How very clever.

So the Cowboys protested without protesting while saying a prayer for ... what? Unity? Sure. That’s safe. Love? OK. Peace? Never hurts. Racial harmony? Yes, provided none of the white customers get their feelings’ hurt. Especially the sponsors.

This and three other immediate, political pundit-style rants and overreactions to the biggest story the Cowboys agreed to quasi participate in so far this season.

1. It was Middle Ground Monday

Jerry had to be convinced to do this. Per reporting by Clarence E. Hill of the Star-Telegram, there was no way the players were not going to participate in this expanding protest movement.

Jerry is notoriously reticent to express political views for fear of alienating ticket-paying customers. In Jerry’s mind, you can’t win when you go political.

Of course, he also donated to the Trump campaign, too.

And Jerry has gone on record saying he’s not a big fan of players using the platform of the national anthem before kickoff as a place to protest.

Jerry signs the checks, but there is power in a majority. And momentum.

Well before kickoff, with an entire day to kill, the players discussed doing something amongst themselves, and then with head coach Jason Garrett.

They came up with a solution that would satisfy the players who wanted to participate and a franchise that did not want to look like the only one folding their arms in disagreement.

2. The point of the protest movement is just about all but lost.

The amount of noise, and red-and-white hate over this subject has nearly all but drowned out why former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem last year.

It was because he was angered at the inequality of treatment by police towards black Americans.

And this movement has slowly morphed into a cascade of arguments with sports commentators clashing with political noisemakers on the issues of patriotism, the troops, the flag, race, sports in society, and police brutality.

3. The NFL’s unifier is 45.

One of the reasons some of the black players stood with their white owners arm-in-arm is because the POTUS went off on another tangent and insulted the league. The only reason all of these NFL teams stood together with their bosses and issued all of these news releases has nothing to do with police brutality or equality.

If the NFL and all of these owners were unified with their players on this issue, Kaepernick would still be a bad quarterback for a bad team.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof