Jerry Jones was notably silent as football season approached with the NFL engulfed in the nation’s larger race reckoning.
As the league shifted its stance to match public sentiment on player protest, the normally outspoken Dallas Cowboys owner had nothing to say publicly on the matter.
Now the season has started. A Cowboy has knelt. And Jones is back to his regularly scheduled media rounds. On Tuesday he addressed Sunday night’s pregame against the Los Angeles Rams that saw Dallas defensive tackle Dontari Poe take a knee during the national anthem.
Jones lauds team response to Poe
Jones, who famously vowed in 2018 that Cowboys players would always stand for the anthem with a “toe on the line” did not criticize Poe while making his weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.
“I thought our players, I thought they gave it sensitivity,” Jones said when asked about his team’s response to Poe. “They showed respect to Poe’s decision. I think they certainly did … show a sensitivity to our fans as ateam team. … All in all, I thought our team was very real and very genuine in the way it approached it.”
Jones did not endorse nor condemn Poe’s decision and moved on to another topic when no followup question was asked.
Poe was the only Cowboys player to take a knee. The newly signed Cowboy vowed to do so during training camp and followed through with his plan even as none of his Cowboys teammates joined him. Defensive end Aldon Smith and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods stood by Poe during his protest, each with a hand on his shoulder.
Jones’ in-game response
NBC cameras focused on Jones as Poe knelt.
Poe told reporters that some of his teammates tried to talk him out of kneeling alone, but in the end he felt supported in his protest against police brutality and racial injustice.
“I had already told teammates and coaches that I was going to it,” Poe said, per the Fort Worth Star Telegram. “That’s where my head was at. My teammates were telling me that they didn’t want me to do it by myself, alone, because we’re a team. But I had told them my mind was already made up and I felt this way.
“And if they didn’t, don’t do it. Don’t do it unless your heart is there like mine was. I appreciate my guys for sticking with me, for being behind me.”
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Pogacar crowned Tour de France champion as Bennett wins finale
Slovenian rookie Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France on Sunday, riding triumphantly into Paris in the race leader’s yellow jersey at just 21 years old.
Pogacar became the Tour’s youngest champion since 1904 as Ireland’s Sam Bennett won the 21st and final stage after the eight-lap dash around the iconic Champs-Elysees to clinch the green sprint points jersey.
The champion mounted the podium as the sun set behind the Arc de Triomphe to pick up the best climber’s jersey, the white top young rider’s prize and finally the Tour winner’s famous yellow jersey.
“I can’t find the words to thank everyone, but it’s been amazing this three weeks where the fans cheered me all the way,” said Pogacar.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo stood alongside Slovenian President Borut Pahor while Pogacar unfurled his national flag and draped it over his shoulders.
Long-time race leader Primoz Roglic ended second while Australia’s Richie Porte came third.
Dressed in green, Bennett lifted his bike aloft after the race, which provided his second stage win.
“It was so hard but it was all worth it, I still can’t believe it,” said the big sprinter after edging seven-time winner Peter Sagan to the green jersey.
– Outsprinting Covid –
The Tour will forever be remembered for a dramatic last-gasp turnaround as Pogacar grabbed the overall lead when his rival Roglic suffered a mountainside meltdown on the penultimate day.
This storied edition of the century-old race packed with thrills and spills will be equally recalled for outsprinting the dark shadow of Covid-19.
Starting two months late due to the global pandemic, the race set off under strict health guidelines in Nice with doubts it would make it all the way to Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron is credited with giving the green light for a rescheduled event heavy in virus protocols to go ahead.
But after 3,400km of intense racing the 146 remaining riders embarked Sunday for a parade of the winners until the hotly-disputed sprint in Paris.
The race was a triumph of organisation after receiving belated clearance to stage the event, although just 5,000 fans lined Sunday’s finish due to the health protocol.
Dutch team Jumbo-Visma dominated the 2020 race with their yellow and black jerseys always grouped at the head of the race as they outpowered everyone until the last and crucial day.
Winners of the past five editions, Britain’s Team Ineos also had a Tour they may regret.
They put their faith in defending champion Egan Bernal, but in spite of spending a week in the white jersey, he struggled to impose himself, lacking perhaps the wisdom and experience of Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome. He lost over seven minutes on stage 15 and dropped out the following day.
Team principal and expansive thinker Dave Brailsford refocused the team, resulting in a stage win for Michael Kwiatkowski in the Alps but Ineos will be licking wounds as they leave France.
When it came to climbers though there was no touching Pogacar who takes the polka dot jersey as well.
There was a sudden focus on Slovenia, a nation of just two million, as Roglic and Pogacar contested the overall win.
Race director Christian Prudhomme was left with a red face when he was sent home mid-race when he tested positive after the first week.
But he will also take plaudits for this Tour and the colossal force of will it took to pull it all off without major incident.
Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma go 1-2-3
There was no movement at the top in the Week 3 AP Top 25.
Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida stayed as the top-five teams from a week ago. But that status quo is likely to change in a week.
With the Big Ten’s announcement that it’s starting the football season on Oct. 24, teams from the conference will be eligible for the AP poll once again. After the conference postponed its season in August the poll decided that Big Ten teams — along with Pac-12, MAC and MWC teams — weren’t eligible for the top 25 after the preseason poll.
Ohio State was the No. 2 team in the preseason poll and will likely be at or near that position in a week. Penn State will also probably be at the bottom of the top 10.
The most significant drop in this week’s AP poll came courtesy of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys struggled to beat Tulsa at home on Saturday and fell from No. 11 to No. 15. Miami, meanwhile, moved up five spots to No. 12 after a convincing win at Louisville. The Cardinals are now at No. 24.
Marshall is also in this week’s poll. The Thundering Herd beat previously-No. 23 App State on Saturday.
Full Top 25
7. Notre Dame
10. Texas A&M
11. North Carolina
15. Oklahoma State
20. Virginia Tech
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Sports Grind Entertainment.
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Giants’ Saquon Barkley exits Bears game with leg injury
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley left a Week 2 game against the Chicago Bears after suffering separate injuries on back-to-back plays.
On the final play of the first quarter, Barkley went down awkwardly on his left wrist and went to the sidelines for one play. He was briefly spelled by veteran Dion Lewis before returning and suffering another injury on his very next touch.
Barkley crumbled into a heap on the turf and ripped his helmet off as trainers rushed to his side.
The superstar back was seen grabbing his right knee and couldn’t leave the field under his own power, instead being helped off by trainers while avoiding putting any weight on his leg.
Barkley was subsequently carted from the sideline into the locker room for X-rays and further evaluation.
The Giants announced Barkley will not return and will undergo an MRI on Monday.
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