About 300 protestors gathered at the Tom Landry statue next to AT&T Stadium Sunday night to protest injustice in America.
The group, which calls itself a Coalition for Justice, was led by pastor Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III from Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.
At the same time as the national anthem was played inside the stadium before the Dallas Cowboys game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the group took a knee. When the anthem was over the group again stood, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, but added multiple and increasingly louder “alls” to emphasize the point of the protest.
Haynes urged Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones to join their movement for criminal justice reform.
“Because this stadium is owned by Jerry Jones, a brilliant owner, a patriot, I believe, but at the same time one who does not allow others to express their patriotism in a way that contradicts him,” Haynes said after peaceful protest. “The irony of dictating that his team has to stand in response to an anthem [with a] third stanza that did not include the ancestors of 75 percent of his players ... we have to stand and at the same time he ignores the fact that there’s something in the constitution that speaks of the right to protest for what’s right.”
Haynes said the group stood alongside Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who started the “take a knee” movement in August 2016.
The group then quietly walked back to the buses that brought them from Dallas a few blocks away.
“We’re here to stand with him as we also refocus the narrative,” he said. “It never was about the flag. It never was about the anthem. It was always about Christian Taylor, Clinton Allen, Tamir Rice … all of those names of individuals whose lives have been lost at the hands of police who overreached and were violent.”
“We invite Jerry Jones to join this movement to fight for police reform, criminal justice reform, and bail reform. If you’re truly a patriot, Mr. Jones, use your privilege to benefit your players and their community,” Haynes said. “Because once they take off their helmet and get in their cars they’re subject to the same things.”