Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, speaking publicly Wednesday for the first time since George Floyd's death sparked nationwide protests, refused to say whether he is changing his feeling about players kneeling during the national anthem.
Jones has long insisted on his players standing for the anthem, "toes on the line," as he put it. However, his ambiguous comments Wednesday focused on the idea of "grace."
"Everybody in this country knows where I stand and where the Cowboys stand when it comes to the flag," Jones said. "Everybody also understands where I stand on backing our players -- the Dallas Cowboys players. ...
"I have nothing to prove as far as where I'm standing with the flag and where the Cowboys stand. I have nothing to prove regarding my players and my support of the players. What I do want us to show and be a part of is a word called 'grace.' Not only grace in our actions but grace in our understanding of where they're coming from.
"I want our players to understand the perception of where they're coming from regarding (the) flag and the sensitivity there and the many memories there. I want our fans to understand ... where our players are coming from.
"The ones who want to basically do that, to kneel, do not feel like they're dishonoring the flag."
Jones also discussed the value of the NFL being able to play this fall despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"Our country really does place football, whether it's misplaced or not, at a very high level," Jones said. "Consequently, it is important. I think it is important individually, but I think it's important in the country.
"I know the debate going on. I can easily see how X percent of the people would be for: 'It's just not worth the kinds of effort, risk, whatever, that's going to go on.' I believe it is. The NFL can be an exciting -- when I say exciting, it can be an inspirational -- part of how we address COVID, not only the remainder of this year, but as we go into '21."
Jones is optimistic fans will be allowed into AT&T Stadium this fall.
"We have a real unique situation, and I think that we're going to be able to really have a great experience," he said. "I think that our safety precautions that we're doing won't be unfamiliar to a lot of people when we look at the general protocol of the country or we look at how you get together numbers of people.
"Our fans will be in the stadium because they have chosen to be there. I'm confident that we've got a very educated situation and that our fans can come and have a safe experience at our stadium along with of course our players having the safety they're required on the football field."
--Field Level Media