From single paragraphs expressing condolences to longer statements calling George Floyd’s killing in police custody a murder, the majority of NFL teams have spoken out in the wake of death that has rocked the country.
However, more than two weeks since Floyd’s death, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hasn’t released any sort of personal statement. One NFL All-Pro thinks that silence is a statement in itself.
Richard Sherman wants more owners to speak up
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman discussed the relative lack of NFL team owners who have spoken up about Floyd’s death and racial inequality.
Using Jones as an example, Sherman said keeping quiet on this topic says plenty:
“It’s not pulling them like it is the rest of the country,” Sherman said. “Because if it was, then they’d speak. Jerry Jones, especially, has no problem speaking up any other time about anything else. But when it’s such a serious issue, and he could really make a huge impact on it with a few words, his silence speaks volumes.”
Sherman isn’t the first player to call out Jones over his silence on Floyd’s death, as former Cowboys star Dez Bryant suggested Jones, his son Stephen and Cowboys great Jason Witten should have attended a protest in Texas.
Witten responded sympathetically to Bryant’s message, but Jones and son have remained quiet on the subject.
As far as the team goes, the Cowboys have put out a two-minute video condemning social injustice featuring the voices of Dak Prescott, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford and Byron Jones. The elder Jones is absent.
Given that Jones has never been to shy away from giving his opinion on most topics, it is at least curious he has been quiet on something as non-controversial as a condemnation of racism. Even New York Knicks owner James Dolan, who initially decline to release a statement when pressed by employees, ended up putting one out.
Jones was notably among the NFL owners to come down hard on players protesting racial injustice in 2017. Not so many owners have spoken out against player protests in 2020, as some players say they plan to protest this fall during the NFL season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league will encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest, a titanic shift from just a few years ago.
Sherman thinks that it’s a sign of the changing times, per the Chronicle:
“This has probably been the most players speaking up in my time in the league,” Sherman said. “And I think it’s really cool because I think people are starting to recognize the platform that they have. And the influence they can have to make a change.
“... It’s like the beast has been woken up. And I don’t think they’ll let it go back to sleep.”
Richard Sherman accepts Drew Brees’ apology
Sherman also reportedly discussed the comments of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who stepped into hot water last week when he lambasted player protests as disrespectful to the American flag.
Sherman was among the scores of athletes to condemn Brees for the comments, saying the quarterback was “beyond lost” on Twitter.
Brees has since apologized repeatedly, going so far as to publicly rebuff President Donald Trump on the issue. Those efforts have apparently earned him some credit with Sherman, who said he accepts Brees’ apology:
“I appreciated him doing that,” Sherman said. “People make mistakes in judgment all the time. None of us are perfect. I think it was just such a disappointment because the locker room and the culture is different than any other place. So you kind of get lulled into the belief that everyone has torn down those stereotypes and those walls. And everyone is treating each other equally.
“I feel better about him actually taking the time to educate himself. He and his wife — they’re not bad people. But I think he didn’t fully understand the impact of those words. And I think he does fully understand it. So I do accept his apology.”
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