As I argued yesterday, the Washington Redskins “won off the field” (as well as on it!) Sunday with their approach to the playing of the National Anthem. Though it grieves me as a Redskins fan to admit it, I think the Dallas Cowboys also won in this respect last night.
Rich Lowry writes:
Last night, the Cowboys kneeled before the anthem and then stood when it was played. This seems like a reasonable compromise. Kneeling itself isn’t the problem. You might think it’s silly or wrong-headed, but it’s not offensive and disrespectful the way kneeling during the anthem is.
The idea, I take it, was to protest President Trump’s wrongheaded decision to call protesting NFL players sons-of-bitches but to avoid showing disrespect for America. The pre-anthem kneeling was the protest. The standing during the anthem was the show of respect for our country.
Owner Jerry Jones participated in both displays — the kneeling and the standing. This too was appropriate, I think. I suspect that Jones had a say in the decisions though some reports indicate otherwise.
As I understand it, only the standing during the anthem was captured on live television. Did knowledge that this would be the case enter into the thinking of the Cowboys and/or Jones? Maybe.
But they must have understood that the kneeling part would be widely publicized. Indeed, my in-box was full last night of messages castigating Jones and his team for taking the collective knee. Many of the e-mailers probably didn’t realize that this occurred before the playing of the anthem.
In any event, the Cowboys approach undercuts claims that teams that refused to stand during the playing of the anthem were protesting against the president, not against alleged systemic racism in America (or whatever). The anthem is about our country, not its president at a particular moment.
There are ways to protest Trump’s unfortunate name-calling without disrespecting America. If the Cowboys found one, there’s no reason why the Steelers, Raiders, etc. couldn’t have.
That they didn’t suggests to me that there’s a strong undercurrent of America bashing sentiment among the players and that Trump’s statement enabled them to express it while appearing to be “mainstream.”