Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said before that he deeply respects the national anthem. In a 2016 interview, Jones said it is “really disappointing” when people disrespect the flag. In the interview, Jones said (emphasis added):
"I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have. I feel very strongly that everyone should save that moment for the recognition of the flag in a positive way, so I like the way the Cowboys do it. The forum of the NFL and the forum on television is a very significant thing. I'm for it being used, in every way we can, to support the great contributors in our society — that is people that have supported America, and the flag.
For anybody to use parts of that visibility to do otherwise is really disappointing. We strongly support the flag in every way — and the people that for generations have given it all up so that we can get out here."
When the Cowboys took the field against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, in the wake of the anthem protest firestorm this weekend, the owner was locked arm-in-arm with his team. What Jones did next was stunning. Before the anthem played, the entire Cowboys team took a knee:
They did so as a show of solidarity.
The Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones locked arms and took a knee in unity prior to the national anthem pic.twitter.com/7kK3qVMDSo
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2017
When they did so, boos could be heard:
Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones, take a knee before national anthem tonight. Boos heard in crowd. pic.twitter.com/UpZUedLgaG
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 26, 2017
The Cardinals never took a knee. For the playing of the national anthem, both the Cowboys and Cardinals all stood, interlocked in arms.
— Jake M. Hoffman (@JMHoffman) September 26, 2017
On Monday night, the Cardinals might have been America's team. A powerful display.
Watch the moment below.