Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Breaks Silence Over Controversial Photo From His Youth

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones addressed the controversial photo of him that was recently uncovered by the Washington Post.

In the picture from 1957, a young Jones can be seen standing in a group of white students at North Little Rock High School. After the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day victory over divisional rival New York Giants, Jones was asked about the picture by reporters. Jones said: “That was 65 years ago. I had no idea when I walked up what we were doing. It’s just a reminder to me of how to improve and do things the right way.”

Jones had previously stated that the person in the photograph was in fact him in 1957. When speaking on the incident, Jones said: “I don’t know that I or anybody anticipated or had a background of knowing… what was involved. It was more a curious thing.”

In the picture, we can see Jerry Jones looking on from behind a group of older students. It isn’t clear whether Jones played any other role in the incident. Jones said that “Nobody there had any idea, frankly, what was going to take place.”

He also admitted that curiosity got the best of him. “I’ve got a habit of sticking this nose in the right place at the wrong time.” He claimed that his football coach “kicked [his] a**” for attending the demonstration. Apparently, his coach had warned players to stay away from the scene.

However, not all students were there simply because they were curious. Richard Lindsey, a black student there at the time, recalled the racism he experienced at the scene. He said a white student put his hand on the back of his neck, announcing a racial slur to the crowd while also threatening Lindsey.

Jerry Jones Talks About His Hiring Practices with Dallas Cowboys

Ultimately, the new enrollees decided against attending the school.

The Washington Post’s recent piece on Jones spans over 8,000 words. It discusses the intersection of Jones’ personal and professional lives as they concern race relations.

Jones has notably voiced opposition to the NFL’s Rooney rule. This rule requires teams to interview at least one outside minority candidate for top-level jobs. Jones has also never hired a black head coach or lead executive. 

Jones spoke about this topic at length when interviewed after the game.

“My goal when I get up in the morning is to make it work,” Jones said. “And I don’t care whether it’s you or you or you. Hell, we’ve got to make it work. That’s where I go. As far as who makes it work, what they look like who makes it work, that has no place in my life. No place.”

He repeated his philosophy on hiring people regardless of race. “It isn’t even a thought about who makes it work.”

The longtime Dallas Cowboys owner also objected to protests during the 2017 NFL season. That year, many African-American players took a knee to raise awareness of police brutality and racism.  

However, Jones ultimately showed solidarity with his team while taking a knee with his team in September of 2017.

“Our players wanted to make a statement about unity and we wanted to make a statement about equality,” Jones said at a postgame press conference at the time.