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NFL Players Display Unity Ahead Of Monday Night Football

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, there was another show of unity last night from players in the NFL. Before a game in Arizona, the Dallas Cowboys briefly kneeled before the national anthem. And then the Cowboys stood with arms linked during the anthem, and so did their opponent, the Arizona Cardinals.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

And there on the field, arm-in-arm with Cowboys players was Jerry Jones, the team's owner.

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JERRY JONES: We all agreed that our players wanted to make a statement about unity, and we wanted to make a statement about equality. It was a coordinated effort. It was planned. I'm very proud of it.

KELLY: President Trump has criticized players for kneeling during the national anthem. He continued tweeting about that yesterday and this morning, saying players were disrespecting the U.S. Jones says his team was trying to strike a balance between showing it was united and properly honoring the national anthem.

GREENE: And Amy Trask knows about this type of balancing act. She was the CEO of the Oakland Raiders for 16 years. She's now an analyst for CBS Sports.

AMY TRASK: Owners recognize that there are those in their fan bases who agree with players taking a knee and protesting in the peaceful manner in which they are doing so. And there are those in their fan base who vehemently disagree with protest during the anthem. Owners are well aware that the fan base don't all have the same views. And owners are figuring out how to navigate that.

GREENE: Trask points out that the NFL often asks players to be involved more in social activism but for league-sanctioned causes like cancer awareness.

TRASK: And there may be recognition that, hey, you're asking me to support these league causes. Super, I'm going to support that which is important to me as well because you know what? You're right. I do have a platform on which to do that.

GREENE: The voice there of Amy Trask. She's the former CEO of the Oakland Raiders. The next NFL game is on Thursday night, and I'm sure plenty of people are going to be paying very close attention to what happens during the national anthem at that game. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.