Despite a recent tweet that had seemed to imply certain things about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has made it clear that he does not believe Jones has any racial bias.
“It’s not about me suggesting Jerry Jones is a racist,” Bryant told Mike Fisher of SI.com. “I know Jerry’s heart — he’s a compassionate person and he’s not a racist.”
Bryant tweeted this message after a Sunday protest in Austin regarding the murder of George Floyd and its aftermath: “Somebody should have brought Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Jason Witten to this protest down in Austin. This is not a policy change; this is a heart change. And yeah, I said it.”
“I have love for Mr. Jones,” Bryant more recently told Fisher. “Almost everything I know about business — and of course I’m still learning — I learned from him. But I believe this is a time, right now, where Mr. Jones could learn some things, too. To learn about the culture.”
Bryant also explained his decision to include Cowboys COO Stephen Jones in the tweet.
“I’ve seen some of the other coaches and GMs from other teams start to reach out, and even march,” Bryant told Fisher. “I think that will help those teams in the locker room and on the field — for players to know that the boss is at least trying to understand.”
The awakening of the past 17 days has sparked a genuine desire by many white Americans to better understand what it means to be black in America.
“I’ve tried to understand Jerry’s background, Stephen’s background, everybody’s background,” Bryant told Fisher. “But are they are trying to understand ours? I’m not saying, ‘Come walk in a march’ to call anybody out; I’m saying ‘Come walk in a march so you can, well, feel it.'”
Jerry Jones recently was criticized by 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman for remaining silent during the past two weeks. As Sherman noted, Jones typically has something to say about anything and everything. The silence of Jones and so many other owners at this time has become, in many ways, deafening.
The real question at this moment is whether it’s enough to truly harbor no racial biases in one’s heart. Many would say, and rightfully so, that it’s time for white Americans to study, to learn, to understand, and (as Dez says) to feel what black Americans have dealt with. Read books, like The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan. Take a seat at the lunch counter at the Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta, and try not to have an emotional breakdown.
Many white Americans who believe in equality haven’t lived inequality, so we don’t truly understand it. In this moment, if the phrase “all men are created equal” is finally going to flip from lie to truth nearly 244 years after the founding fathers applied their signatures to the Declaration of Independence, white Americans need to realize the gap that has existed between what America has promised to all Americans, and what it has provided to black Americans.