A day after more than 200 NFL players protested during the national anthem, the entire Dallas Cowboys team and owner Jerry Jones took a knee before Monday night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. However, unlike many other athletes, they chose to make the statement prior to national anthem.
According to ESPN, the Cowboys had planned to send a message of "unity" before kickoff at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Sources said the team and its coaches had trouble agreeing on which action to take. Were they going to stand as "The Star-Spangled Banner" was sang, or would they chose to sit or kneel? They did both … in a way.
Though the team and its owner Jerry Jones took a knee before the national anthem, they stood locking arms while it was being performed. The crowd can be heard booing the team as they kneeled. Sideline reporter Kristi Scales insisted the team wasn't protesting but were kneeling in prayer.
Jones, who was one of multiple NFL owners to donate to Donald Trump’s campaign, has repeatedly urged his players to be "respectful" to the flag. Jones' contribution to Trump's inauguration committee was $1 million.
"We want them to do what's in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys," Jones said. "That's where the obligation is. And again I don't want to get into this area of debate. But I do want to emphasize how important it is to me that we respect the sanctity of the flag."