As NFL players and teams demonstrated against racial inequality and police brutality in a variety of ways on the league's opening Sunday of 2020, there was added notice as to how the Dallas Cowboys would handle their pregame, as owner Jerry Jones stated years prior he expected his players to stand during the anthem.
Defensive lineman Dontari Poe was the lone Cowboys player to take a knee during "Star-Spangled Banner." The rest of his teammates, on the sideline along with Poe, stood during the playing of the anthem. Poe's choice to kneel was a decision he had declared weeks prior to the season opener.
Across the SoFi Stadium Field, multiple Rams took a knee, but not all. Quarterback Jared Goff stood but had his hand on the shoulder of a kneeling teammate.
While Jones remained steadfast in previous years that his players stand for the anthem, ahead of the 2020 season he stated that he expected players to display grace and later that he was looking for a compromise.
Throughout Sunday's Week 1 games, players and teams demonstrated against social injustice in a variety of ways before their games, such as kneeling, the locking of arms in unity, raised fists in protest and some staying off the field during the playing of both national anthems Sunday, which included "Lift Every Voice and Sing", known as the Black national anthem
In the weeks leading up to the NFL's season openers, the use of games as a platform to peacefully protest was discussed across the league. It came in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, on May 25 in Minnesota while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. Protests were rekindled or furthered after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by Kenosha, Wisconsin, police on Aug. 23.
Previously, Commissioner Roger Goodell stated players have never been disciplined for peacefully protesting and no discipline would come this season.
"Yes [I will support them]. We have never disciplined a single player for anything with the national anthem and in violation. And I don't intend to," Goodell said in an interview on Emmanuel Acho's YouTube series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. "And I will support them."