Washington Post Discovers 1957 Photo Of Jerry Jones In Crowd Barring Black Students From School

When Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was 15, his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas was at the epicenter of the civil rights movement. Amid efforts to integrate local high schools, protests have erupted. White students tried to block black students from entering the building.

In a new article regarding Jones’ potential influence on the NFL’s efforts to improve its dismal record of hiring minority head coaches, the Washington Post he discovers a photo of a 15-year-old Jones. There he was, standing among North Little Rock High School protesters blocking the path of six black students.

Sixty-five years later, Jones credits his presence to a curiosity that defied his football coach’s orders.

Jim Albright, according to Jones, told the team that he “didn’t want to see any of you knotheads near the front of that school tomorrow.” Jones claims (because, really, what else can he say?) that he was there to watch, not participate.

“I don’t know if I or anyone else anticipated or had any background of knowledge. . . what was involved,” Jones told the To send. “It was more of a curious thing.”

On the one hand, he was 15 at the time. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone who was merely curious having such a prominent place, as there were surely many others who were there not to observe but to hinder.

The lengthy article delves into Jones’ employment practices with the Cowboys. He has never hired a black head coach and has had a limited number of minority coordinators on the payroll. Former Dallas sportswriter Dale Hansen, whose on-air op-eds bringing the team to work are the stuff of legend, recounts the To send that Jones could be a force for change among his NFL peers.

Jones doesn’t disagree with Hansen’s central point. Asked by To send If he has that “unique ability” to effect change, Jones said, “Yes. What I’m saying is I understand that.

He also seems to understand the fundamental truth that the hiring process continues to be driven by relationships and familiarity, not raw merit.

“It’s not the Xs and O’s,” Jones told the To send. “It’s not the Jimmys and Joes. It’s who you know.

It’s also what the owner knows they want to do. In 2003, Jones was determined to hire Bill Parcells. And Jones apparently viewed the Rooney Rule as a box to check, interviewing Dennis Green by phone and, in turn, forcing the league to revise the rule to request in-person interviews.

If Jones’ in-person interview with the To send convinces anyone that its motives in 1957 were pure, it is undeniable that it has a significant influence on its other owners. If he were to take a prominent position, others would follow.

That said, he’s had 33 years to do it. Could it happen in the twilight of his tenure as team owner? It’s entirely up to him.

The Washington Post discovers a 1957 photo of Jerry Jones in a crowd barring black students from school that originally appeared on Pro Football Talk

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