Defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Taco Charlton offered the extremes.
“I ain’t got nothing to say to about that,” Lawrence said. “That is for me to do and y’all to keep watching.”
Lawrence said the Cowboys haven’t discussed it as a team.
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As far as Charlton is concerned, there is nothing to talk about.
“There’s no problem with me,” Charlton said. “He’s the boss. That’s above my pay grade. I mean, he came in, he’s the boss. He said he wanted us to stand up. I don’t have a problem with that. I understand where he’s coming from. . . . I respect what he says. I have no problem with it.”
It’s all good news because vice president Stephen Jones said players could lose their place on the team if they don’t follow the rules.
“If they want to be a Dallas Cowboy, yes,” said Jones on radio Thursday when asked if he was confident players will follow the team rule.
“There’s one way to do it right in our mind, and that’s go toes on the line and stand for the anthem.”
“That’s not an ‘I’ or ‘me’ thing. This is an organizational thing,” Jones further explained. “We feel strongly about it. We don’t think it’s a controversy. We just think that’s the way we do it. Jerry feels strongly about it. I think he’s had a good feel for what our organization should be over 30 years. I think it’s paid off for our players for the most part.”
Linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Jordan Lewis added more perspective on the Cowboys being unified as a team regarding what is a tough conversation going on in locker rooms across the league regarding social justice protests during the national anthem and how the league and individual teams are handling it.
There is no gray area with the Cowboys.
“Well, I think I’m going to do what I’ve always done and stand,” Lee said. “Obviously I believe that there’s social injustice that needs to change in this country that’s very serious. But I also believe that I’m going to stand for the anthem, because I feel like I’m blessed to be an American, and I’m blessed to have two grandfathers who served. These ideas are not mutually exclusive. I know one thing: Our locker room has stayed united. We’ve respected everybody’s opinion. We’re going to be a group that stays united and works toward a common goal.”
Said Lewis: “We haven’t talked about that. We really haven’t talked about it, man. We’re just trying to come out here and play football right now. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, especially when we’re just trying to focus on the team aspect of everything. Just trying to come together collaboratively and get wins, man. That’s really what we’re worried about right now.”
Lewis is not one to shy away from politics. And while he understands what former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick was doing when started protesting racism and social justice by kneeling during the anthem, he believes there are different ways of doing it.
“You’ve got to do it the right way, of course,” Lewis said. “Kaepernick did some great things. I understand he did a lot of great things. As a team aspect, we’ve got to come together and see what we can do to actually change things. I think that’ll be more effective. Coming together as a team and understanding things need to be changed in this nation, not just with a gesture. We understand. We understand out there. But we understand we have a goal and we need to accomplish that goal.
“Everybody’s aware. It shouldn’t be a big topic anymore. Everybody should be aware of it. It’s just getting into those communities and actually making changes, not just talking about the gesture, but going out there and actually doing things. I plan to do things in my community to uplift us and make sure we’re all right.”
Lewis said the bottom line with the Cowboys is the players have to focus on their job first.
“At the end of the day, you’re getting paid to be a professional athlete,” Lewis said. “We have to do what we’re told to do at the end of the day and go out there and win games, honestly. We’ve got to come together as a team and not be separated as a team and do things individually. We’ve got to come out here and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Lee said it’s a challenging discussion that the Cowboys engaged in last year and will likely do so again. But he said they will remain unified and respect each other with the focus on the team above all.
“It’s a really tough discussion,” Lee said. “It’s one of those things where we know people come from different backgrounds, have different views, but we’ve said this from the start: We’re going to stay unified; we’re going to respect each other. But there’s no question it’s been a tough conversation for the entire league.
“But at all costs, respecting each other and knowing that we’re working toward a common goal and we’re going to stay unified no matter what, knowing that people have different opinions, and knowing it’s OK to have different opinions. At the end of the day, you can agree to disagree, but we’re going to respect each other no matter what.”