If you wonder why the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones suddenly went from committal to non-committal in regard to announcing their position on the flag, it came down to placating the fans and giving them the illusion that they are in charge.
Because, for the Cowboys, being able to charge is driving this out-of-the-closet position in Frisco.
This isn’t about patriotism. This is about capitalism.
If taking a knee was popular and profitable, Jerry would be on all fours.
The morning after the Cowboys locked arms and took a knee before the national anthem at Arizona, they were overwhelmed with phone calls from irate fans, a team source said. Phone calls numbering in the thousands. In excess of 2,000 the first week, a team source said.
Jerry and the Cowboys came up with the idea so the players could protest without “disrespecting the flag.”
Didn’t take. The angry calls continued last week, but the number was decreasing.
Jerry was sure he satiated the players who wanted to join the protest movement against the words of President Donald Trump, and those who want to raise awareness about racial equality and police brutality against African-Americans.
Fans didn’t agree. So they called and complained. A lot. And every single call was taken, the complaint was heard and a new course was taken.
After the Cowboys’ loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jerry said to a small number of us reporters that he is aligned with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the national crisis of standing at attention for the flag before a football game.
Then Jerry went all-in and said the team would bench a player if he didn’t participate in standing at attention for the national anthem.
Fans ate up the empty, populist rhetoric, because we all know Dak Prescott could spit on the ol’ glory and he’d still be starting.
Where are your priorities?
While all of Jerry’s players were likely aware that a billionaire sports owner would be aligned with a Republican president, it was the announcement that Jerry was friends with Trump, plus a threat to bench a player, that the team did not like.
That was why the team held a meeting with Jerry on Wednesday during the bye week to hash out their feelings and determine who sits where on the Trust Tree.
Jerry is desperately trying to appease his players, who have some leverage, and the fans, who have the money.
Jerry wants to “create the perception” that the fans are in charge. Because it is paramount that Jerry be allowed to charge.
According to the research group ValuePenguin, watching the Cowboys at 1st Amendment Stadium is the second-worst deal in the NFL.
Combining the price of tickets, concessions and parking will cost an average of $440.10 per home game. Per this research group, based on the income of the local fans, a person would need to work about 15.4 hours at their job to cover the costs of a Cowboys game.
The Cowboys’ charge $75 to park, easily the highest in sports. A beer at AT&T Stadium is $8.50, again one of the pricier in sports.
The data compiled by ValuePenguin says a fan will need to work about four times longer to attend a Cowboys game than a Texas Rangers game in Arlington, or a Dallas Mavericks game in downtown Dallas.
So if you want to know why the fans are celebrating their role in creating the perception of America’s Team honoring the flag, it’s because it allows Jerry to create the perception they are in charge while they eat a $15 cheeseburger and chase it with a $10 beer.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof