The Dallas Cowboys are looking to honor the four Dallas police officers and one DART police officer murdered in July 7th (and promote good police-community relations) by wearing a sticker on their helmet. Via DallasCowboys.com:
The team will wear an “Arm in Arm” helmet logo that features a star that represents the police and the Cowboys players, and the circle surrounding the star that represents community and unity.
The Cowboys also hosted the families of the officers who were killed, and Police Chief David Brown, by having them out for training camp on Saturday.
Tight end Jason Witten told reporters after the event how he wanted to put smiles on the faces of the families, who are still grieving at the loss of life.
“We can’t even imagine what they’ve gone through. I can’t even fathom that. Just to hopefully put a smile on their face and show them how much we respect them and honor them in that.
“It’s pretty simple. The tribute was to them. It was about those families.”
Safety Barry Church had similar comments to The Dallas Morning News:
“We’re just going to stay arm-in-arm the best we can. Out here we’re just playing a game. What they have to deal with is real life. If we can just lift spirits by what we’re doing out here and just stay arm-in-arm and support their cause, I’m with that.”
Witten had the idea to invite the families out, but it was the Cowboys as an organization who decided to do the sticker to promote unity (they’re trying to get permission from the NFL to wear the sticker the entire season). The players also received a talk from Chief Brown, who said he wants to see them involved in addressing issues and having a dialogue between the community and the people elected to represent them. Via The Dallas Morning News:
“I talked about there being two things you can do: you can be part of the problem by being silent or being complicit, or you can be part of the solution by having a voice, by lending your role as a professional athlete to this cause. I think that people need to hear, from all parts of society, a discussion on race. It’s the toughest discussion that we all have, but it’s part of the root cause of some of the problems that we see in some of our communities. I really do believe that sports, entertainment can have an influence on young people if they were able to strike the right chord in the way they talk about some of these issues.”
What Brown is suggesting is similar to what Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James suggested at the ESPYS (along with the shirts the Minnesota Lynx players wore (which said Black Lives Matter AND had a Dallas Police emblem on them)), but, to a certain extent, bigger. Brown didn’t use an awards show to “make a statement,” he used a talk with players to do it. He’s used news conferences to encourage minorities who feel the system is broken to get involved and join the police force. Brown has been encouraging more dialogue between police and protesters, something more chiefs, talking heads, and activists should be willing to do. The activists saying, “we don’t want to be involved in a corrupt system,” are being so short-sighted in their comments and not thinking the long game.
That’s probably the biggest challenge everyone faces when they look at an issue: the simple solution. For some it’s tossing leadership out, and going with something which could burn things down in the worst way possible. For others it’s wearing a T-shirt, posting a meme, or doing a charity concert with remixed lyrics. Brown and the Cowboys are looking at the long game and trying to bring all sides to the table. That’s the hardest part, and good on them for being willing to do it…arm in arm.