Sports

Jones answers questions about photo from 1957

ARLINGTON, Texas — After the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants on Thanksgiving, owner and general manager Jerry Jones answered more questions about a story published by The Washington Post than his team improving to 8-3 and looking like a Super Bowl contender.

The Post published a story Wednesday with a photo that showed a 14-year-old Jones peering over a crowd of white students as six Black teenagers walked up the steps of North Little Rock High School in Arkansas as the school was integrated in 1957.

Jones said he was there out of curiosity than animosity.

“I didn’t know at the time the monumental event really that was going on,” Jones said. “I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me [to] just continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen.”

At issue now, however, is the perception Jones has not done enough to further Black coaches. The Cowboys are one of seven teams not to have had a Black head coach and have had two Black coordinators since Jones has owned the team (Maurice Carthon, Brian Stewart), but their highest football executive, vice president of player personnel Will McClay, is Black. The Cowboys have a Black assistant head coach in Rob Davis and their strength and conditioning staff has three Black coaches in Harold Nash, Kendall Smith and Cedric Smith.

Jones has complied with the Rooney Rule in which teams have to interview minority candidates. Before hiring Mike McCarthy in 2020, Jones interviewed former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. In 2003, he interviewed Dennis Green before hiring Bill Parcells. In 2007, he interviewed Ron Rivera, Jim Caldwell, Mike Singletary and Todd Bowles before hiring Wade Phillips.

Jones said his decisions are made for business reasons, not race, particularly saying in part that his relationships with players “are as an adviser of using any skill or talent I’ve got financially.”

“I want it to work. I want it to work. I want it to work for my players. When I consult and am with them, I’m with them on a business basis,” Jones said. “Where I’m going with this is that I’ve never thought about some of the issues that you want me to be, or about which you’re asking me to be, sensitive. My goal when I get up in the morning is to make it work. And I don’t care whether it’s you or you or you. Hell, we’ve got to make it work. That’s where I go. As far as who makes it work, what they look like, who makes it work, that has no place in my life. No place. It isn’t even a thought about who makes it work.”

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