Cowboys owner Jerry Jones softens on protests, says players 'need help' from America

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appeared to soften his stance Friday on the possibility of players conducting protests during the national anthem during the upcoming NFL season.

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The 77-year-old billionaire famously declared in 2018 that the Cowboys’ policy called for players to “stand for the anthem, toe on the line.” With the 2020 season just days away, Jones signaled that he is willing to keep an open mind and work in tandem with players.

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“We all do understand where I stand relative to the national anthem and the flag,” Jones said during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Texas. “On the other hand, I really do recognize our times we’re in. I recognize the ability of the Cowboys to use the visibility and interest we have to support the players."

A number of NFL players have said that they intend to renew kneeling protests this season following nationwide protests against police brutality. Earlier this summer, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for the league’s past handling of protests and pledged to support players who speak out in the future.

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Jones did not specify how the Cowboys would approach anthem protests this season, but noted that the team would “come down in a way that gives us a chance to move the ball forward.”

“If our players are there [on the field], they are sensitive to the public and respect what America is as it relates to the flag. I can assure you of that,” Jones said. “I would hope that our fans, which I think that they will, will understand that our players have issues that they need help on, and they need help from the majority of America. They need help.”

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Jones’ remarks came shortly after several Cowboys players addressed the possibility of protests this season. The team's quarterback Dak Prescott said he felt the decision on how to protests should be made on an individual basis, while defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford said Dallas' players “definitely have a green light” to speak out.

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