Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said at the start of his team’s training camp in Oxnard, California, that his players would have “toe on the line” during the national anthem. Peaceful protest or remaining in the locker room is not an option for Jones’ players. His son and second-in-command, Stephen Jones, hinted in an interview that any protest would lead to a player being released.
Folks, the Cowboys’ season is over before it even begins. I foresee a disaster because the owner has emasculated his black players and any of the white ones that have a conscience.
In response, quarterback Dak Prescott explained why he will stand during the anthem – and it was met with disgust by many Cowboys fans – including me.
“I’d never protest during anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so,” Prescott said after Jones shot off his mouth on the anthem.
“I think this whole kneeling, and all of that, was all about just raising awareness, and the fact that we’re still talking about social injustice years later, I think we’ve gotten to that point. I think we’ve proved it. We know about social injustice. I’m up for taking a next step, whatever that step may be for action and not just kneeling.”
I’ll bet Prescott never thought he would be called a “lemonade-serving house Negro,” but that was one of many negative responses he received via social media and in comment sections. Certainly, there were those who supported him.
Los Angeles Raiders linebacker Tahir Whitehead said Prescott is more concerned with money than equality and justice in America. Tahir said via Twitter, “Sounds like Dak don’t want to lose that Campbell’s Chunky Soup deal!”
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who served a six-game suspension last season because the NFL determined he physically abused a woman in 2016, said, “We’re the Dallas football Cowboys. America's Team. We stand for the national anthem."
Among the comments that greeted Elliott in the Dallas Morning News was “Massa Jones really got these losers shook.” Another included a video of Daffy Duck tap dancing. That one made me laugh, I admit.
Several fans said Jones’ “toe on the line,” comment has made them give up on the team they have followed their entire lives. I also heard Prescott and Elliott called “America’s Toms.”
The NFL and NFLPA are discussing how to properly handle anthem protests. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman called the first meeting “encouraging, open and amicable.”
When asked about Jones’ comment, Sherman said, “The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, with the old plantation mentality. What did you expect?”
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins called Jones “a bully,” and took the stance that many of us hope at least one Cowboy has the guts to consider.
“I’m glad I’m not a Dallas Cowboy,” he said, adding that he “feels for (black players on Dallas’ roster).”
Last week, Jenkins eloquently explained to NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt why the protests (and there are few) should be tolerated.
“We can talk about social issues and still have a great game,” he said.
“We talked about domestic violence for a whole year ... We talk about breast cancer for a whole month every year; you wear pink on the field ... no issues with that. We start talking about black issues and issues of race, now all of a sudden, we just want football. We don’t want all that extra stuff, we just want to watch the game.”
After Jones’ “toe on the line” tirade, the national anthem was played before the team’s Saturday practice session.
Dale Hansen, a sports anchor for Dallas' ABC affiliate, witnessed and described the scene.
“Jones loves and respects the national anthem so much, that when it was being played before the start of practice Saturday, he left his cap on. And when he was told about the mistake he was making, he still left his cap on,” Hansen said.
“He who makes the rules, apparently doesn't have to follow them.”
The NFL has reportedly told Jones to drop the anthem subject, which led to another embarrassing moment for America’s Team.
Mike Doocy, a sports reporter for Dallas' Fox affiliate, cancelled his annual one-one-one interview with Jones on Sunday night when told the owner would not speak on the anthem controversy.
“As it turns out, tonight at the last second before we were getting ready to record our interview, we were told by Jerry and his public relations staff that the national anthem issue would be off limits,” Doocy told viewers.
“The fact we were told that at the last minute and that conditions were put on the interview in that way, I just didn't feel comfortable going on with it.”
He said he didn’t "want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is," and he appreciates how Jones interacted with the media.
His action could cost him his job. As a result, Doocy showed more character than Prescott and Elliott did last weekend.
Jones has put a target on his players’ backs that will be hard to miss. This will be a season filled with his black players facing on-field taunts and borderline late hits. Other teams and other towns have always despised the Cowboys. The hatred will be over-the-top this season because Jones “toe on the line” was a big middle finger toward black Cowboys fans and black people throughout America.
While Jones sits comfortably in his palatial owner suite, Prescott, Elliott and his other black players will face a backlash of unimaginable proportion.
They better be prepared for some of the black power the Cowboys’ owner refuses to acknowledge.
NFL boasts six black coaches
Entering the 2018 season, the NFL will have six African-American head coaches among its 32 teams. They are:
Todd Bowles, New York Jets, fourth season; Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns, third season; Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos, second season; Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals, 15th season; Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers, second season; and Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers, 11th season.
All African-American head coaches are in the AFC, following the dismissal of Jim Caldwell at Detroit following last season. The NFC does have Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera who is of Latino descent.
The Baltimore Ravens, with head coach John Harbaugh, is the lone team in the AFC Central without a black head coach. Jackson, Lewis and Tomlin are the other head coaches in that division.
Joseph is on the hot seat in Denver heading into his second season and needs a solid campaign to hold on to his job.
Lewis is the dean of black coaches with 14 years at the helm. People wonder how he keeps his job with no playoff wins. Things would be worse without him, trust me.
Tomlin needs another deep run in the playoffs to calm his critics in Pittsburgh. He would be hired immediately if here were fired, though.
Bowles’ Jets were supposed to challenge Jackson’s Browns for worst team in the NFL last year. The Jets were scrappy and overcame many injuries to finish a 5-11 record, which included several close losses. Jackson went 0-16 but could have the NFL’s most improved team in 2018.
Lynn’s Chargers are being picked by some pundits to win the AFC West. After a disastrous 0-4 start last year, the Chargers finished 9-7 and almost made the playoffs.
The Reid Roundup
The Cardinals aren’t as colorful today (pun intended). Tommy Pham, who blasted the St. Louis Cardinals front office in a Sports Illustrated article before the season, was traded to Tampa for three prospects… If Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez gets hurt as soon as he gets off the DL, why does he come off the DL so soon?... Led by Brandon Rush’s 46 points, a KU alumni team beat a Mizzou alumni squad 109-101 last Saturday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence… I said months ago I wanted Tampa pitcher Chris Archer in St. Louis. The talk of that happening picked up before the Tuesday deadline but no deal was reached… The odds are 16-1 for Tiger Woods to win the 100th PGA Championship Tournament next week at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country… Lewis Hamilton, with the help of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, held off two Ferrari drivers to win last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton now holds a 24-point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the driver’s standings… I will serve as provocateur on Donnybrook at 7 p.m. Thursday (August 2) and you can catch replays at 1 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1.