Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expects the team to host fans at its home games this fall and addressed his current view on national anthem protests in his first public comments of the 2020 season on Wednesday.
Jones, 77, declined to estimate how many fans could be permitted to attend games in person at AT&T Stadium, which has a maximum capacity in excess of 100,000 under normal conditions. However, the longtime Cowboys owner expressed confidence in the team’s ability to maintain a safe environment for the home crowd at its state-of-the-art facility.
“The Dallas Cowboys plan on playing football, and we plan on playing in front of our fans,” Jones said during a virtual press conference from Cowboys training camp. “I think it’s important. I think it’s important individually. I think it’s important for the country.”
Jones noted that the Cowboys would “adhere to all protocols” and “adapt them to the uniqueness of our stadium” in order to host a crowd. Previously, the franchise announced that it would put a hold on season ticket packages for the 2020 season and limit capacity at AT&T Stadium to comply with local public health guidelines.
A number of NFL teams, including the New York Jets and New York Giants, are expected to play without any fans in attendance this fall. The NFL announced earlier this summer that any fans who are permitted to attend games will be required to wear face masks.
“We will have our challenges, the people that will be there will be there at their own volition just as the players that are out on this field for the Cowboys are here because they have chosen to be here,” Jones added. “Our fans will be in the stadium because they have chosen to be there.”
Jones also addressed the possibility of player national anthem protests this season in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.
The Cowboys have a longstanding policy that players must stand for the anthem prior to games. Jones did not say whether that policy would remain in effect this season, but he noted that he would work with players to craft the team’s approach to the situation, given the ongoing protests against racial injustice.
“I have nothing to prove as far as where I’m standing with the flag and where the Cowboys stand,” Jones said. “I have nothing to prove regarding my players and my support of the players. What I do want us to show and be a part of is a word called ‘grace.’ Not only grace in our actions but grace in our understanding of where they’re coming from.”