FRISCO, Texas — Before the Dallas Cowboys dig in to the 2020 season, Jerry Jones first had to say grace.
The Cowboys owner spoke to reporters via teleconference on Wednesday, along with his son, team vice president Stephen Jones, and new head coach Mike McCarthy.
A series of topics were addressed, including the Cowboys plan to play in front of fans, how they're handling health and safety amid COVID-19 and the future of quarterback Dak Prescott.
The common theme throughout the 55-minute Q&A was optimism.
Optimism a season will be played. Optimism fans will be allowed to attend, in some capacity. Optimism for a Super Bowl run. Optimism Dak Prescott will eventually sign a long-term deal to remain quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for "the rest of his career."
However, no topic received more commentary from Jerry Jones than the possibility of Cowboys kneeling during the national anthem in 2020.
“Everybody in this country knows where I stand and where the Cowboys stand when it comes to the flag,” Jones said Wednesday.
For better or worse, he's right. Everyone does.
In 2018, Jones said, "Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line."
President Donald Trump applauded Jones' policy.
Understandably, NFL players who followed in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick's form of protests -- like Malcolm Jenkins -- disagreed with Jones' policy.
Fast forward to August 12, 2020.
Nearly two years after his "toe-the-line" remarks, Jones tiptoed around them and expressed a willingness to listen to other viewpoints..
“The keyword is a word called grace... grace,” Jones declared. “That was then, two years ago. This is now... The ones who kneel, they do not feel like they’re dishonoring the flag. I’m going to have grace. And I’m going to have grace regarding the people that are sensitive about our flag. As we get together with our team, as we discuss with the team, somewhere in between there is how we’re going to handle it.”
Jones said he's received input from presidents, past and present, as well as current and former Cowboys.
"I will continue to have input," Jones explained. "This is a very serious matter... I want our players to understand the perception and where they’re coming from regarding the flag and the sensitivity there and the many memories there."
In the wake of George Floyd's death and the protests around the country to support racial equality, the owner of the most valuable franchise on the planet was nowhere to be seen or heard from.
A man who has never met a microphone he didn't like, was noticeably silent.
The Cowboys released a video statement about how they've engaged in conversations with local law enforcement to come together and create real solutions to end systemic injustice.
Nowhere in the video or the team statement was a word from Jerry Jones.
Instead of speaking, Jones says he is now listening.
"Our players have always been open ears for anything that I have to offer and I’ve been open-eared with what they have to offer," Jones said. "What I do want to show, and want us all to be a part of, is a word called 'grace.' Grace. Not only grace in our actions but grace in our understanding of where they’re coming from."
Reconsidering a stance on something is not the same as changing a stance on something.
However, some people jump into the water. Some have to dip their toes in first.
"My job is to run the Dallas Cowboys," Jones asserted. "My job is to do what’s right... I want to sit down when I have an issue and I have a decision to make, I want to show the world that I can do it with grace and come up with the right solution."