Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones softened his tone when it comes to players protesting during the anthem, after being the first NFL owner to insist his players stand for the national anthem.
"Our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line," Jones said back in 2018.
But, in an interview with 105.3 The Fan Friday morning, Jones suggested wiggle room due to "the times we're in" and urged fans to respect the players' opinions.
"No one's on the same page," Jones said to 105.3's K&C Masterpiece. "That's the great thing about America: Everybody has a difference. If our players are there, they are sensitive to and respect what America is as it relates to the flag, I'll assure you that. I would hope that our fans — which I think they will — understand that our players have issues that they need help. They need help from the majority of America."
Jones was asked about Tyrone Crawford's comments on Thursday, when the veteran defensive lineman said players have received a "green light" to express themselves in the form of protest against racism and social injustices.
“We all do understand where I stand relative to the national anthem and the flag,” Jones said. “On the other hand, I really do recognize the times we’re in. I recognize the ability of the Cowboys to use the visibility and interest we have to support the players. As I’ve said earlier, we’ll come down in a way that gives us a chance to move the ball forward, move the ball positively forward."
No Cowboys player has kneeled for the national anthem in the four years since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee to protest police brutality and racial injustice in 2016.
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But, newly-signed free agent Dontari Poe said in August he plans to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality and raise awareness for social justice.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott supported his teammates, saying they should have the right to express themselves as individuals.
And the Cowboys held team meetings in the days after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Jones declined to comment on those player discussions, but emphasized that players show "grace" in using the Cowboys' visibility.
"The word is being as effective as we can maximizing the visibility of the Cowboys," Jones said. "We're the most visible thing there is in all of television in any discipline. So how do we do that? We'll do that by showing the grace to the millions that are sensitive that the flag is a symbol of the best of America. But also recognize the times we're in and the need for social justice. There will be no angst between and the players and no angst between me and the fans."