Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, locked arms with his team and knelt with them before the national anthem and ahead of the game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, continuing a wave of protests in the NFL that has sharply divided viewers.
When it was announced that the national anthem was about to begin, Jones and his team rose with arms still locked together, after which “American Idol” alum Jordin Sparks sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In the stadium, the protest was met with jeers from the crowd that were echoed on social media by viewers at home. Though some supported Jones in his show of unity, some disappointed fans promised to drop the team entirely.
“Turned on Monday Night Football for the National Anthem; then turned off the game. Done w/ the Dallas Cowboys & the NFL. Jerry Jones Caved,” one user wrote.
“Jerry Jones joined entire team in kneeling prior to national anthem on Monday Night Football. Cowboys are Americas teeming pile of s—,” wrote another.
The protests were sparked by President Trump’s calls for NFL owners to fire players for not standing for the anthem during a rally in Alabama Friday. Several owners joined their teams on the sidelines during Sunday’s games to lock arms in a display of unity.
Jones’ decision to kneel was most notable, however, as he has been an outspoken supporter of the president and previously said he did not support anthem protests.
The protests first began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who would sit or kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and the injustice faced by African Americans.
“Jerry Jones takes the knee in an unexpected act of solidarity. Beautiful moment in history,” one supportive Twitter user wrote. Others said they were waiting on Jones to explain his decision to kneel and to explicitly condemn systemic racism.
“What matters here: what Jerry Jones says when he’s asked WHY he kneeled,” said ESPN Magazine writer Mina Kimes.
See more reactions below: