FRISCO, Texas — As the talk of protesting President Donald Trump’s comments that players should be fired if they don’t stand for the national anthem took on a bigger profile last week, Dallas Cowboys safety Byron Jones talked with his older brothers.
Aaron is a deep-sea diver in the Navy; Winston is a Marine.
“They gave me their blessing and said, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’” Jones said. “[They said] we don’t do it for the flag. We don’t do it for the anthem.’ They said, ‘We do it for your freedom, and your freedom to protest is one of them.’”
Jones was unsure if he was going to take a knee during the national anthem.
“I was back and forth the entire time,” Jones said.
Before kickoff against the Arizona Cardinals, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones presented the idea to the team in which Jones, front-office staff, coaches and players would stand arm in arm and then drop to a knee before the anthem played. During the anthem, all of the Cowboys stood with their arms locked.
“Jerry came in, in the last minute and just kind of said, ‘Let’s show unity. Let’s show a united front,’” Jones said. “And everyone thought it was a good idea, so we went out and did that.”
Players are not sure if there will be a similar demonstration before kickoff Sunday when the Cowboys host the Los Angeles Rams at AT&T Stadium. Jason Witten said there has been some discussions among the leaders of the team this week and would continue over the next few days.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said he was OK with the Cowboys’ demonstration.
“It’s just what we decided,” he said, “and just move on.”