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Cowboys and Cardinals show unity during US anthem

Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms and kneel during the National Anthem before the start of their NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on September 25, 2017
AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) – The Dallas Cowboys added their contribution to the wave of protests across the NFL Monday night as the players collectively took a knee before their regular season game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cowboys were joined by team owner Jerry Jones in kneeling down at mid-field, but they chose to do so before former “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

The Cowboys said they wanted to take a knee as a statement of equality and a representation of unity but without protesting “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

A smattering of Arizona fans booed the Cowboys when they took a knee. As a further indication of just how divisive this issue is for Americans, others cheered loudly when a giant US flag was unfurled and covered the entire pitch.

Sparks, an African American, also wanted to send a message of unity as she wrote a Bible verse on her left hand that reads: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

The Cardinals also locked arms during the anthem, but nobody appeared to take a knee or raise a clenched fist.

US President Donald Trump has been locked in a dayslong feud with NFL players, owners and league officials over the symbolic protests aimed to draw attention to racial injustice. On Friday, he called protesting players “sons of bitches” who should be fired.

Jones lives in the Republican stronghold of Texas and was one of seven NFL owners to donate to Trump’s inauguration.

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