Stephen Jones declines comment on Roger Goodell’s Kaepernick remarks
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently conceded the league erred in its initial handling of the player protest movement initiated by now-exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
When asked to react during an interview this week, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones declined to comment.
Goodell has attempted make amends over the NFL’s mishandling of the Kaepernick-led activism in recent months as the outcry and outrage over systemic racism, social injustice and police misconduct has reached a fever pitch in the country. That continued this week during an appearance on “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.”
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” Goodell told former NFL player Emmanuel Acho on the program.
Jones was asked during an appearance this week on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan about Goodell’s remarks.
Full audio clip of Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones on whether NFL should have listened to Colin Kaepernick and players earlier: pic.twitter.com/myibH4PBa2— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) August 27, 2020
“I’m not going to comment on that at this point,” Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan in his regular appearance. “Obviously everybody, I have respect for what everybody has to say about any of these situations. Everybody has their own way of getting their hands around it. It’s obviously a big challenge. As I said, every organization, every office, every place looks at it a little different, including whether you’re the NFL or you’re an individual club, everybody has their views on different things.
“So, certainly have respect for everybody’s opinions and views, but probably as far as I’d go with that.”
Jones’ remarks did not occur in a vacuum, it merits noting. Just this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Stephen’s father, expressed hope that some sort of compromise can be reached with the team’s players about how to handle the protest issue, especially as it pertains to the national anthem.
The elder Jones has been upfront for years about how any act of protest during the anthem by Cowboys players would not be tolerated.
Further muddying the waters when it comes to Stephen Jones’ reticence to react to Goodell’s recent comments is how Jerry Jones has been widely criticized in league circles, even by one Cowboys player, for his continued silence on social justice issues as support for the Black Lives Matters movement has spread across the NFL.
Widespread protests erupted after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers earlier this year, which led to the NFL to begin reexamining its stance on player activism. The outrage was renewed again this week after Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot seven times in the back by officers in front of his children in Kenosha, Wisc., last Sunday.
The incident prompted NBA players to strike, resulting in the postponement of six playoff games on Thursday and Friday amid widespread outrage in the league’s Orlando, Fla., bubble. The NBA is expected to resume play this weekend, but the players’ protest unsurprisingly became a deeply polarizing issue throughout the country. Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League also elected to postpone games this week as well.
It will be interesting to see how the NFL handles any potential protests that could include players sitting out when the regular season kicks off in a few weeks.