Dallas Cowboys

Garrett says flag is important, but doesn’t mind players speaking out

With the Dallas Cowboys playing at the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, quarterback Colin Kaeperick and his protest of the national anthem will be a topic in the Cowboys locker room.

Kaepernick has taken a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games to highlight racial injustice in policing. The protest has spread to many other players and teams.

But no Cowboys player has participated or joined the fight with any form of protest.

“I don’t want to get too much into that discussion,” coach Jason Garrett said. “But the value that we have for the flag, the value that we have for the national anthem, I think it’s really, really important. Our team has chosen to handle it the way we’ve chosen to handle it. In general, athletes using the platform that they have and the voice that they have in the community can be a positive thing.”

Garrett reiterated he doesn’t have a problem with athletes speaking out on social issues. It’s something Dallas police chief David Brown encouraged the Cowboys to do during a speech to the team on the first day of training camp.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to let your social voice be heard on situation and use the platform in a positive way to help our community,” Garrett said. “I think when you’re a professional athlete you have an amazing platform. My experience has been players in the National Football League for years have used that platform really well.

“Today’s our off day with our players and probably half of our players are doing something in the community right now. They’re speaking at a school, they’re doing something at a firehouse somewhere. They’re doing something to make our community better. So it’s a fantastic platform to have and we certainly would encourage our players to take full advantage of it.”

Following Kaepernick’s lead, many players and teams in other sports plan to let voices be heard on the issue. Local high school teams have even gotten into the act by kneeling before games.

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said his basketball players will do something as a team.

Garrett said the Cowboys have already made their feelings known on the subject on the first day of training camp when they showed solidarity with the Dallas police department in the wake of the mass shootings in July.

“Well, we did something as a team,” Garrett said. “If you remember when we started training camp, we came out arm and arm with the police chief and the mayor of Dallas. We had the families of the victims in Oxnard with us. We thought that was an important demonstration to show our support for the police force and what they do in our communities.”

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