When Colin Kaepernick began his protests before NFL games, the Dallas Cowboys were one of the few teams in that league that chose to be respectful of the American flag and not kneel during the national anthem. Their stance has predictably drawn ire from Los Angeles Lakers forward and full-time social justice warrior LeBron James.
The NBA-star had long been a supporter of “America’s Team,” but on an Instagram Live video on October 27, he said the no kneeling policy initiated by owner Jerry Jones in 2017 was something he ardently disagreed with. And so he's no longer a Cowboy fan.
"There was just a lot of things that was going on during when guys were kneeling, and guys were having freedom of speech," James said in the video. "They wanted to do it in a very peaceful manner. A lot of people in their front office and a lot of people that ran the organization was like, 'If you do that around here, then you will never play for this franchise again.' And I just didn't think that was appropriate."
There are also plenty of people that thought that kneeling for the anthem -- a gesture that sowed more disunity than union -- was inappropriate, and there were plenty of other ways to peacefully protest that didn't involve showing disdain for our country. But I digress.
To provide context: Jerry Jones did say that anyone who knelt for the anthem would not play (though it was unclear if he meant the players would get cut, like James wants people to believe). But he also did an admirable job of drawing a balance on how to give room for the players who wanted to voice their concerns on bigger issues while still showing respect for America the nation.
Jones said that he was not shutting down the conversations players wanted to have outside of football, but he made it clear that under no circumstances would his players show any sign of disrespect to the flag.
"I know this, we cannot...in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag," Jones said at the time. "We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag.”
Both men are perfectly within their right to act out according to their differing views, even if James’ opinion is completely bogus. If Jones’ admirable stance costs him LeBron’s support and isn’t good enough for the most spoiled athlete in recent memory, I don’t think he -- or anyone else in Cowboys nation -- will lose sleep tonight.