It had been four years since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice, and no player on the Dallas Cowboys had joined in on that demonstration.
That changed on Sunday.
Cowboys defensive tackle Dontari Poe became the first Dallas player to kneel for the anthem, and he did so with several standing teammates putting their hands on his shoulder.
Over the years, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had been among the league’s most outspoken opponents of player protests. And that tone somewhat changed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s deaths. But Jones never said whether he would actually support a Cowboys player kneeling, and even after Poe took a knee, he didn’t necessarily take a stance one way or the other.
Speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones applauded the team for how they handled themselves during the anthem. He complimented the team for respecting Poe’s decision but didn’t elaborate on what he actually thought about Poe’s protest himself. He said via Yahoo! Sports:
“I thought our players, I thought they gave it sensitivity,” Jones said when asked about his team’s response to Poe. “They showed respect to Poe’s decision. I think they certainly did … show a sensitivity to our fans as a team team. … All in all, I thought our team was very real and very genuine in the way it approached it.”
So, again, it wasn’t exactly an endorsement of protests from Jones. But it did show a definite shift from the no-protest stance Jones had taken since 2016.