Earlier this month, in the midst of yet another round of NFL-wide national anthem protests, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones promised that “if there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
During last week’s game, two players — David Irving and Damontre Moore — raised their fist during the national anthem. By Wednesday, Moore was gone.
The Cowboys insist it was a football move, and the fact that Irving is still with the team shows that Jones isn’t going to follow through wholesale on his threat.
But it sent a message to anthem protesters: If you’re expendable, protesting the anthem isn’t going to help your career prospects at all.
According to NBC Sports, Moore was released this week to make room for kicker Mike Nugent.
“We had to make a roster move and we just felt like the best decision for our team was to release Damontre Moore,” Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett said.
Moore was a marginal player at best. He has never started a game in a seven-year NFL career and was suspended for the first two games of this season. It was also reported he was involved in an altercation at a nightclub Thursday night, although he apparently was not the party that started it.
When asked if any of these things — particularly raising his fist at the end of the national anthem — played a part in his release, Garrett said no. For his part, Jerry Jones said in his post-game news conference that he was unaware anyone had raised a fist during the anthem.
And, of course, there’s the fact that Irving raised his fist, too. But, see, Irving is a better, younger player. Someone needed to go. And that someone was the more marginal player.
The Cowboys might claim the protest had nothing to do with their decision on Moore. However, the numbers don’t lie.
Fifty-five percent of Americans think that kneeling during the national anthem is an inappropriate way to protest, compared to only 41 percent who do. The NFL’s ratings are down. A recent Fox News poll shows that the league’s favorability percentage is down 18 percent since 2013.
The message is clear: America values the flag and the anthem. They aren’t terribly fond of players who don’t. Ergo, players who don’t value the flag or anthem are less valuable to teams. This doesn’t mean that Colin Kaepernick is being purposely kept out of the league (his absence from the NFL stems from a number of other factors, many of which we’ve chronicled ) or that players are being blacklisted for their political beliefs.
It’s just that their insistence on trying to force their political beliefs on the American public make them worth less to a team than other players.
So, no, Jerry Jones did not fire both players and thus tell the world, like Martin Luther defending his theses, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” He did what any businessman would do: He counted the numbers and lo and behold, he found Mr. Moore was the most expendable.
For his part, Moore insists the fist isn’t about disrespecting the flag, just like every player who protests the anthem says it’s not about disrespecting the flag.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Who is to say I’m right? Who is to say they’re wrong? Who’s to say that they’re right? Who’s to say that I’m wrong?” Moore said, adding he had family members in the military. “At the end of the day, you do whatever you do, but I know I am going to stand up and not disrespect the flag like that.”
“It’s just something that I do,” Moore said of raising his fist. “I’ve got my morals. I’ve got my values and my things that I think about. I don’t want to cause no attention to nobody else and bring unwanted attention, but on the same token, you know, there’s certain things that people are doing it for. So, for me, it’s just one of those personal things that I do.”
Unfortunately, most NFL fans have different values, as the numbers show. That’s why the NFL is in trouble, and it certainly could have something to do with why Damontre Moore doesn’t have a team.
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