Cowboys attending a desegregation demonstration in the 1950s, Jerry Jones discusses his view on race relations in the NFL


Arlington, Texas – Dallas Cowboys play f He won a Thanksgiving home game at AT&T Stadium.


After the game, team owner Jerry Jones addressed reporters in the bowels of the stadium often referred to as “Jerry’s World” in reference to the financial might of the franchise he had built.

Jones dealt with the Cowboys’ victory, growth, and setbacks. as he usually does.

The main difference: it is also, take up at length a Feature that Washington Post Published Wed It is loosely based on Jones’ life and interviews with the 80-year-old team owner who works as general manager.

The feature, which spans more than 8,000 words, was complex. It featured two main points and a related focus on race relations in America, the NFL and Jones’ personal and professional life.

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones interacts with fans during warm-ups before the Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones responded with fans Oct. 23 in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, to follow-up questions about the Washington Post feature on him. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The first and introductory topic focus on an archive photo of Jones attending desegregation efforts in 1950s Arkansas, and The Post discusses his mind at the time and his childhood in the not-yet-incorporated state of Arkansas (Jones said he interacted with the black community as a child, including his father’s grocery store, which was incorporated).

Two: The Post asked each of the NFL team owners to discuss the late advancement of diversity into NFL coaching appointments, particularly at the coordinator and head coach levels. Only Jones, who spent more than two hours with the reporters, agreed. Jones mostly discussed how he appointed whoever he thought was the best person for the job. The Post interviewed Cowboys vice president of players Will McClay and former Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, both of whom are black. Maclay figures prominently in the franchise. Smith has partnered with Jones in commercial activities in the 30 years since he starred in Dallas.

Jones explained Thursday.

The archive photo of Jones was taken on September 9, 1957, the day six black students were attending classes at his high school in North Little Rock. This was five days after the famous “Little Rock Nine” episode, in which President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to safely transport nine black students to Little Rock Central High in Arkansas. Jones High School was about 4 miles away.

There, on September 9, North Little Rock students sought to deny entry to black students. Jones, who was one month shy of his fifteenth birthday, attended. He says “curiosity” rather than belief in a cause drew him to the hostile and racist event that ultimately delayed segregation at the school by a decade, according to The Post.

“That was, my God, 65 years ago and he was such a curious kid, I didn’t know at the time what a huge event was going on,” Jones said Thursday night. “I am sure glad we are so far from it. Me. It will remind me: just keep doing everything we can so that such things don’t happen.”

Jones declined to stress that he regretted attending the demonstration, emphasizing what teenager Jerry was worried about instead: whether he would get in trouble with his soccer coach, who warned the players to stay away. (Jones said his coaches “kicked my ass” for showing up.)

“Nobody had any idea, frankly, what was going to happen,” Jones said. “I’m so used to putting that nose in the right place at the wrong time.

“It’s a reminder to me of how to improve and do things the right way. … I’m not arrogant about it. I’m honest about it.”

Jones initially answered eight questions about the photo in front of a group of about twenty reporters. On the ninth question, he told the reporter, asking that he would be happy to visit but at that point he would answer questions about the game.

Several minutes later, as the crowd of reporters thinned, Jones revisited a conversation about his experience with and his beliefs on interracial relations after the match. Jones said he talked about his family growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Arkansas, the hometown he always felt a connection to and bringing players including Troy Aikman to visit. He emphasized his family’s philanthropic efforts in those neighborhoods, and framed his experiences growing up in separate times as part of his background.

“Those years certainly set me apart and made a way for me, as we all stand here today, to look for ways to improve, ways to do it better,” said Jones. You may have noticed in the same article that I am the only one who volunteered. Of all the owners, I was the only one who talked about it, and I’ll be talking about it all day.

“I am not afraid.”

Jones also discussed, as he did in The Post article, how important connections and networking are to rookie mobility in the NFL. He noted the hiring of head coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer after previous friendships, and downplayed the influence of race on communication. Jones said he could help coaches, including black coaches, network and connect with those they would promote.

He objected to the implication that he would avoid hiring diverse candidates, pointing out that more than 50% of his coaching staff is considered a minority. He said advocating progressive policies on diversity was not top of mind when he bought the Cowboys and immediately faced financial challenges. Jones said he was “fighting for ‘my life’ then, and focused almost exclusively on solvency.

Today, Jones has hired and says he will hire diverse candidates when they are his best business option. But it doesn’t focus on the ethnic makeup of its employees and the active diverse recruitment.

“My goal when I get up in the morning is to make it work,” Jones said. “And I don’t care if it’s you or you or you. Hell, we have to make it work. That’s where I go. And as far as who makes it work, and what they look like who makes it work, that has no place in my life. No place.”

“It’s not even a clue as to who makes it work.”

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