Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys
may have found an exit strategy for the growing controversy over player protests of racial inequities and Donald Trump's boorishness.
Before a nationally televised game last night, Arkansas native Jones joined the entire team on the field
before the playing of the National Anthem. They locked arms and took a knee, then rose for the Anthem. They remained standing with locked arms during the playing of the song.
The crowd booed at the knee-taking. Trump, watching football more than the massive humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, Tweeted admiringly of the boos. But then he praised the Cowboys for rising for the anthem.
"I hope that I'm clear and I hope that our team is clear: We want to respect the flag. Make no mistake about that," Jones said.
"Nothing that we've done, nothing that we did tonight says anything other than that. We also want to as a complete team, as players and an organization, be able to, whenever we can, demonstrate that unity is important and equality is important.
Said Coach Jason Garrett:
Trump thinks he has a winner in fueling the divide with black athletes who've protested, first, police brutality and then a president calling them sons of bitches and suggested they are nothing but field hands who should be brought in line by the lash of employment threats. Trump is probably right politically,
if the players are dead right philosophically.
I've wondered how the players could continue to make a statement but without firing up the Trump base and also alienating many people who, however sympathetic, are bothered by displays during flag ceremonies.
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys essentially demonstrated Monday night that the protesting players DO have a point. There is not
equality in America. When a president can offer comfort to neo-Nazis while calling people of color sons of bitches, demonstrations are in order. I happen to think symbolism is important. The disgrace done
to our national emblem by killing of unarmed black men, by racial profiling, by white supremacists
and by an embarrassing president invite its use in symbolic protest. But public displays of unity and agreement — even by a billionaire who gave Trump's inaugural a million dollars — have some value. The boos Monday night show even a respectful statement, apart from — but connected to — the Anthem, are
unacceptable to a significant number of people. That, too, is an uncomfortable comment on today's America but a signal that Jerry Jones might have found a middle path through the player-Trump standoff.
PS: Of course Jones was motivated at least partly by self-interest. A scattered protest by some Cowboys undoubtedly would cost him ticket sales in Texas. Doesn't mean his
joining a unified demonstration of solidarity wasn't of great value and a rebuke of the president.
By the way: The Pittsburgh Steeler and combat veteran Alejandro Villaneuva
who was lionized by false patriots for standing alone outside a tunnel for an anthem Sunday while his teammates stayed inside, apologized for appearances that he'd thrown his teammates under the bus. That was not the plan, he explained. He apologized for making his teammates look bad.
Also: If you read anything today read San Francisco 49er Eric Reid's
op-ed about how the Colin Kaepernick protest evolved. Powerful stuff if you care what it is REALLY all about. Not that Trump and the false patriots do.