New Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Dontari Poe will take a knee during the national anthem this season, one of dozens of players across the league who plan to do so.
Poe, who signed with the Cowboys earlier this offseason, has kneeled in the past — including during the 2017 season when he was with the Atlanta Falcons.
While that’s his intention, Poe said the team hasn’t had a specific discussion about the popular peaceful protest.
“Yeah I do still plan on kneeling,” he said Sunday, via USA Today. “But we haven’t had the conversation yet. Not saying that anybody else is wrong for not doing it or whatever their cause is.
“But I just felt like I just wanted to do it for me and the statement I wanted to make.”
Poe plans to meet with Jerry Jones
Poe signed a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Cowboys earlier this year, though was just recently taken off the physically unable to perform list while recovering from a quad injury he suffered last season with the Carolina Panthers.
He said Sunday that Jones had held a team meeting and expressed “a couple of feelings,” but that he wanted to meet with him one-on-one.
“[Jones] told us he had an open door for us to talk to him at any time,” Poe said, via USA Today, “so I look forward to taking advantage of that and just getting in his ear and seeing how he’s feeling about it.”
Jones softens on ‘toe on the line’ anthem stance
During his first media appearance in more than 100 days earlier this month, Jones appeared to soften on his previous hard-line national anthem policy.
Jones, in 2018, made it clear where he stood on the issue.
“Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line,” he said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Jones didn’t specify where he was on the anthem protests or if he’d enforce his old policy, but said he’d “have grace” about the issue and work to find a solution.
“That was then, two years ago. This is now,” Jones said. “We have had very, very sensitive times. I don’t need to share that we’re also embroiled in a very other sensitive time with the challenge and the war, literally, with [COVID-19].
“These are very sensitive times. I have nothing to prove as far as where I’m standing with the flag and where the Cowboys stand. I have nothing to prove regarding my players and my support of our players. What I do want to show and want us all to be a part of is a word called grace. Grace. Not only grace in our actions but grace in our understanding of where they’re coming from … I’m going to have grace. I’ve had grace. Many of you have written and criticized me for having too much grace and understanding regarding our players, and I probably have. And I’m going to have grace regarding the people that are sensitive about our flag. Somewhere in between there as the weeks — as we get together with our team, as we discuss with the team — somewhere in between there is how we’re going to handle it.”
Poe isn’t sure when he’ll be able to actually sit down with Jones to discuss the protest.
So far, though, he’s hopeful that it will go well.
“I talked to a couple of players [about] how he is and all of them pretty much told me the same thing: Yeah, he’s willing to talk,” Poe said, via USA Today. “So that was encouraging from that aspect.
“There’s still words to be had between us two, so we’ll do that.”
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