Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said he and his teammates plan to stand during Sunday’s national anthem.
The Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones and the coaching staff, briefly kneeled on the field before the anthem on Monday night in Arizona as a show of unity. They then stood and locked arms during the anthem. Bryant said he’s not expecting anything like that on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
"We're going to stand, we're going to stand and going to put our hand over our heart and we're going to do what we did before," Bryant said. "You all know what that was, that was just a response to Trump and that's all that that was."
A week ago, President Donald Trump unexpectedly began attacking NFL players who had kneeled during the anthem. He continued to up the pressure with daily tweets for days. As a result, players on nearly every NFL team showed some type of solidarity by kneeling or linking arms before Sunday’s games.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan (KRLD-FM) that he had spoken with Trump after the Cowboys’ show of unity on Monday night. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that "Jerry is a winner who knows how to get things done. Players will stand for Country!"
Jones said no promises were made to Trump about the team’s future actions during the anthem, even though that’s how some interpreted the tweet.
"The implication that there was some kind of pat on the back is really not the case," Jones said. "It was a simple discussion."
Jones said the Cowboys’ actions on Monday were a way of trying to placate everyone in the locker room – those who felt a need to respond to Trump’s attacks and those who felt strongly about not protesting during the anthem. He added that while he would prefer Cowboys players stand, there is no mandatory order.
"I want everyone to know that I've asked the players … not (told). There is no tell,” Jones said.
He added that Bryant was “absolutely torn” about what to do and felt pressure to kneel during the anthem on Monday. Bryant said he’s just trying to move forward now.
"I'm going to leave that all in the past," Bryant said. "I'm focused on this week. I'm letting that ... I don't even want to think about it. I'm done with that."