Jerry Jones explains the kneel before the flag

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones explains his team's decision to lock arms and kneel, and rise, before the national anthem on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz. (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).
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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones explains his team's decision to lock arms and kneel, and rise, before the national anthem on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz. (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).
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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys players rip President Trump’s comments as hurtful, disrespectful

September 26, 2017 12:37 AM

GLENDALE, Ariz.

The Dallas Cowboys players roundly ripped President Donald Trump for his divisive and controversial remarks last Friday regarding the NFL and ongoing national anthem protests.

They made a statement before the game by linking arms and taking a knee with owner Jerry Jones just before the anthem. No player or coach knelt during the anthem.

Players weighed in on the moment afterward with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence making the boldest statement.

“This whole week, it was all about the President’s comments,” Lawrence said. “We sat down as a team and we didn’t want to sit here and make it about one person. Everybody speaks and, you know, they say what they want to say but we’re not going to sit here and pinpoint that moment in our life’s and sit here and make it about the President.

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“Even though he’s the President, we don’t agree. We feel like that was some dumba-- sh-- he said. I’m just being real, you know? We stuck together as a team and we wanted to show our unity today.”

Here’s what other players had to say:

Jason Witten: “In my 15 years in this league, the brotherhood I’ve been able to form with guys from different walks, beliefs, thoughts and that’s what makes a locker room special. I’m going to stand for the national anthem with my hand over my heart until the day I die. And I respect our country and love and honor the service men that represent our flag and one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. I believe in that. I believe in that wholeheartedly. I also can respect and agree to disagree. That’s what a locker room is all about when divisive thoughts come in. There are lots of different ways. That’s what special about a locker room because there’s a lot of different opinions, lot of different thoughts. What’s important to us and it’s important for me is that you take the high road and you show unity and you look for a better good. I think our team tried to do that tonight.

Dez Bryant: “It was a team thing. That’s the true definition of unity. Trump can’t divide this. Sports can show a perfect example of unity. That’s our job. It’s not just black NFL players. It’s a mix of, different races. I felt like that was a clear shot at Trump sitting on the knee like that. You just can’t do that. That’s super disrespectful. We showed great unity tonight, that’s what that was for. I felt like that was needed.

“We felt like that was the best thing to do. We’re not going to let a guy like that tear us apart. Not just us but this whole entire league.”

Ezekiel Elliott: “We just wanted to show unity. We don’t agree at all with what the President said and we just wanted to show that we weren’t going to be divided by that.”

Asked if the entire league sent a message over the weekend, Elliott said: “I think we did send a message. I mean, there’s just so much going on in this country right now. We’ve got a lot get better at, but nothing is perfect.”

Dak Prescott: “It was a tough deal to handle, but I think this team, this organization, players, coaches, staff, everyone did the right thing. We came together. We had a lot of dialogue. Talked about what we wanted to do, just as a sign of the unity we want to bring in this country and just help everything that’s going on right now. I think we did a great job.” 

Sean Lee: “We were trying to show unity as a group. The great thing about football is trying to show unity as a group in our locker room and throughout our country. I thought the guys handled it incredibly well. It was great to be out there with them.”