A new report in The Washington Post uses the 1957 integration of North Little Rock High School as a pivotal moment in its analysis of why Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has not hired a black head coach.
The report includes an image that shows Jones, who was a 14-year-old high school sophomore at the time, watching the confrontation between white students who were trying to prevent black students from entering. The report notes that the protest against integration was taking place in the same time frame as the famed Little Rock Nine were integrating Little Rock Central High school.
Jones said he was a spectator, not a participant.
David Maraniss and I did a deep dive on Jerry Jones, who was on the steps of his Little Rock high school for an explosive encounter during the school-segregation strife of 1957: https://t.co/JFtF5MkVJC
— sallyjenkinswashpost (@sallyjenkinswa1) November 23, 2022
“I don’t know that I or anybody anticipated or had a background of knowing … what was involved,” he said.
Jones then just needed six words to describe why a young teenager may wander over to such a commotion.
“It was more a curious thing,” he said.
On Thursday, he was asked about the report, according to ESPN.
Do you believe Jones’ explanation?
Yes: 88% (429 Votes)
No: 12% (58 Votes)
Jones said he merely wanted to know what was taking place.
“I didn’t know at the time the monumental event really that was going on,” Jones said. “I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me [to] just continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen.”
“Nobody there had any idea, frankly, what was going to take place,” Jones said, according to Yahoo. “I’ve got a habit of sticking this nose in the right place at the wrong time.
“It is a reminder to me of how to improve and do things the right way. … I’m not cavalier about it. I’m genuine about it.”
Much of the report focuses on the fact that the Cowboys have not had a black head coach. It is worth noting that the Cowboys have employed black assistant coaches and coordinators.
“What frustrates me most, he is in such a position and such a leader [that] if he would take a stronger stance, he could be the force of change. He could be that guy that pushes the NFL in another direction,” Dale Hansen, a retired Dallas sportscaster, said.
The report quotes Hansen as saying that if Jones hired a black head coach, “I think there are a half a dozen NFL teams that would follow that lead. … He’s had the opportunity not only to change the Dallas Cowboys but the NFL and America.”
Jones said he supports diversity, saying in that area he “wants to be first in line.”
Asked if he had the ability to make a change in the NFL’s racial climate, he replied, “I do. What I’m saying is, I understand that.”
But Jones indicated that a head coaching job is not a prize to give away, but one that is earned.
“We are not born equal. Anybody that says we’re equal, well, you’re wrong. … Some of us can talk it better than others. Some of us were better quarterbacks in college,” he said.
“You got to figure your angle out. Lay awake, figuring it out. If you want it as bad — remember, you’re trying to get something that’s almost impossible to get, one of these jobs — you somehow got to figure the angle out. And that’ll separate the ones that can,” he said.