David Irving means no disrespect to the U.S. military, the anthem or the flag when he raises his right fist in the air at the conclusion of the pregame anthem.
The Dallas Cowboys’ defensive lineman, whose father is a master sergeant in the Marine Corps and whose brother served in the Marines, said his small, peaceful protest is not intended as a slight.
“No, I don’t,” said Irving, who made the the gesture for the second consecutive game. “I’ve had plenty of discussions and talks with [my dad] about the issue. My oldest brother served as a Marine as well. I mean no disrespect at all.”
Irving said he’s hoping to put questions about the issue in the past.
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“I’ve said some teasers here and there and it turned into a big, huge thing, a big distraction,” he said. “We’re just going to talk about football now.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he never directly discussed the issue with Irving and had no concerns about Irving’s gesture.
“But David can be a very important part of our team going forward,” Jones said after the Cowboys’ 40-10 win. “Ever since he got back off his suspension he has made important plays. We need him out there. I am certainly pleased with any aspect of what he was about today, with his play or anything else.”