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When You're a Cowboy, Christmas Is Just Another Day

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When You're a Cowboy, Christmas Is Just Another Day

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The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform at Cowboys Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.

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Maybe it is because they play on Thanksgiving every year or perhaps it is because people would watch a NFL game if it was on at three in the morning while their wife was in labor, but nobody has made too big a deal about the fact that the Cowboys are playing a game on Christmas night.

It's easy to understand, from the fan's perspective. Who wouldn't want to retire to the couch to relax and watch a football game after a day spent enjoying presents, food and the company of relatives. Or, depending on what goes on at your house, escaping those relatives. Doesn't really matter at the end of the day as it is all entertainment. 

The only people who might object would be the players themselves. After all, they won't get to enjoy their loved ones on Christmas Day. The Cowboys don't seem to mind, however. Jason Garrett and Jon Kitna both spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and said that playing on Saturday is no skin off their back. It's the life of a professional and that's that.  

Professionalism isn't part of the reaction of two NBA leading lights who will be working on Christmas night. LeBron James complained about them, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy complained about them and Lakers coach Phil Jackson went so far as to call the NBA offices anti-Christian for scheduling them.

"It's like Christian holidays don't mean to them anything any more," Jackson said. "Just go out and play and entertain the TV. It's really weird, but it is what it is. We have to go to work and make the best of it."

Imagine that, someone in the entertainment business being asked to go out and entertain. It's almost like that's exactly your job description, Phil.

Obviously everyone, from James to Jackson to the guys who will be washing their towels late on Saturday, would like to have holidays off to spend with their friends and family. It's tough, but it is something that all kinds of people put up with and survive every year. They have Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve or they have a big dinner the next day or any number of other options to make the best of a less than ideal situation. That's life in America.

We'd love to hear Jackson's thoughts about why the business of sports should be conducted differently than most other businesses in this country. Things don't come to a screeching halt in the United States on Jewish or Muslim holidays, so why should a Christian holiday be any different? 

People want things like basketball games and football games on Christmas, just as they want supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and gyms open. If they didn't want those things, games would go unwatched and businesses would go unpatronized and they'd all be closed next year. Business is business, with little regard for faith, and that's been true for an awfully long time.

It's not a surprise that the Cowboys get that. They are owned by Jerry Jones, after all. Doesn't make it any less nice to not have to hear them whine about it.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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