The National Football League has denied a request by the Dallas Cowboys for players to wear a sticker on their helmets to show support for the Dallas Police Department that lost five officers in one terrible attack last month.
The “Arm In Arm” decal was to have been worn when the team opens its preseason schedule during the upcoming bout with the Los Angeles Rams.
But Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told the media that NFL officials said every team “must be uniform” and the stickers were nixed. Jones said the team will “respect their decision” and drop the plans to show support for the Dallas PD.
The idea for the sticker was spearheaded by Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. The team had hoped the decals would help them stand side-by-side with the police after a gunman murdered five officers during an ambush and shootout. On July 7, shooter Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed Dallas police as a Black Lives Matter protest march wound down, killing five and injuring nine others.
The attack was the deadliest single incident for law enforcement in history excluding the disastrous terror attacks on September 11, 2001 when 72 officers died.
While disappointed, the Dallas Police Department thanked the team for the sentiment.
“We appreciate the support of the Cowboys organization and its players,” a statement from the DPD said. “Their concern for the families of our fallen officers, the Dallas Police Department, and the City of Dallas is what matters most, and we know that support will continue for the immediate and long term future.”
But a representative of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation was much less forgiving of the NFL’s decision.
“The NFL is in a very influential position and has the ability to evoke change, raise awareness and show its support for law enforcement by making the decals available to all NFL teams,” Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation President and Dallas PD Sergeant Demetrick Pennie told Breitbart Texas. The officer added that the professional football league missed an opportunity to facilitate positive change as well.
Dallas Morning News Sports Columnist Tim Cowlishaw applauded the decision, however, noting that the NFL was wise not to open a “political door” when honoring fallen officers.
NFL gets stuff wrong but got this right. Other ways to honor them without opening this political door. https://t.co/bRfpLPFeyG
— Tim Cowlishaw (@TimCowlishaw) August 11, 2016
The Dallas paper columnist added in a live chat regarding the decision, “If you allow that, do you allow decals saying Black Lives Matter? Pro Life? Pro Choice? Repeal Obamacare? John 3:16? Where does it end? I think there’s a place for protest and there’s a place to honor victims in different ways.”
Sergeant Pennie strongly disagreed, noting that honoring police should be held above the political fray.
“[That statement is] unbelievable. We’re talking about the loss of five police officers. We’re not talking about Obamacare or Hillary 2016 — we’re talking about police officers that lost their lives protecting individuals that were protesting against them. There’s no greater honor than what the [Dallas Cowboys] did for us. This is above politics. This was the greatest loss of law enforcement life since 9/11. The individual teams should have been left to decide.”
The DFOF President also shared support for similar League treatment like seen with military veterans and breast cancer.
In the end, Dallas VP Jones said he understood the decision to deny the use of the stickers.
“There are tons of things out there that need to be recognized. Once you open that Pandora’s box, how do you ever stop?” he said.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breitbart Texas Assistant Editor Logan Churchwell (@LCChurchwell) contributed to this report.