The Dallas Cowboys opted to protest before the playing of the national anthem Monday night in Arizona. Jason Garrett said the move was intended to “demonstrate unity and equality without involving the American flag or Star-Spangled banner.
Fans still booed the Cowboys, delighting one very prominent politician particularly interested in NFL pregame protocol.
In the wake of this reaction, it’s worth reconsidering — if you haven’t already — that maybe, just maybe, some of the animosity directed toward the protesting player isn’t just about the national anthem or flag.
ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt explored this possibility.
“Will anyone listen to what he said about what they did as a team?” Van Pelt asked in the wake of Garrett’s explanation. “How they talked for days to figure out how they show their support and then not be disrespectful to the flag?”
“But if this is something that upsets you,” he continued. “You’re just going to be mad and no conversation can take place if that’s all there is. It just can’t happen if you just want to be mad. This was before the anthem, and what they did was booed. So if the anthem wasn’t being played and the flag wasn’t being displayed and you’re angry at that, what are you angry about?”