What started as a solo stand by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became a movement Sunday. Following comments and series of tweets from President Donald Trump on Friday and Saturday — he told an Alabama crowd that any player protesting during "The Star-Spangled Banner" was a "son of a bitch" who should be fired — NFL teams, players and management joined in solidarity against Trump's comments.
Three teams — the Steelers, Titans and Seahawks — stayed in their locker rooms during the anthem, and members of the other 25 teams taking the field Sunday either took a knee, sat on the bench or locked arms with teammates and management during pregame ceremonies.
On Monday night, we'll find out if any Cowboys will join in, breaking the team's de facto ban on anthem demonstrations. After taking a look at previous comments and controlling for this season's specific circumstances, let's evaluate some not completely arbitrary odds for what might happen at University of Phoenix Stadium tonight.
(For those unfamiliar with betting lines, $100 is the base unit. Odds of +110 would return $110 on a $100 bet, while odds of -110 would require a bettor to wager $110 in order to win a $100 return.)
Dez Bryant takes a knee during the anthem or otherwise protests Trump as an individual. +250
As one of the Cowboys' most visible, highest compensated and most outspoken players, Bryant seems among the most likely members of the team to take a knee. Although he's taken flak from commentators like ESPN's Jemele Hill and his followers on Twitter, Bryant has made it clear that he values his paycheck and the economic security that comes with it over taking a public stand against police misconduct or Trump. Given Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' public comments on the issue, Bryant's stance is not unreasonable. But Trump's comments have made anthem protests more mainstream, and Bryant is important enough to the Cowboys that the team won't make an example of him if he protests. If Bryant is ever going to make himself a public advocate, Monday night could be the night.
Bruh it's the wrong place and time to be talking about that....I care about my black people...at the same time I have a family https://t.co/9HNgWJ7cFO— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) August 16, 2017
Dak Prescott takes a knee during the anthem or otherwise protests Trump as an individual. +500
Throughout his short Cowboys career, Prescott has shown that he knows, for better or worse, where his financial bread is buttered when it comes to remaining in Cowboys management, and his endorsers' good graces. He's avoided controversial statements, presenting himself as the affable, charismatic but inoffensive face of the franchise. While Prescott could very well link arms with teammates should the team choose to do so, it is exceedingly unlikely that he'll take a knee.
Ezekiel Elliott takes a knee during the anthem or otherwise protests Trump as an individual. +2500
Elliott is still in damage-control mode as he seeks to find a conclusion to his seemingly endless disciplinary battle against the NFL. If he does anything to make himself stand out before the game Monday night, it will come as a huge shock.
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The Cowboys stay in the locker room during the Star-Spangled banner. +1000
On Saturday night, Jerry Jones again made it clear what he thinks about protests during the anthem. "I do not think the place to express yourself in society is as we recognize the American flag and all the people who have made this great country, the very opportunity for us to even be there in front of the nation," Jones told Fox Business Channel. "So that's not the place to do anything other than honor the flag and everybody that's give up a little for it."
While there is no chance that the Cowboys would stay in the locker room in a show of solidarity, there is just enough of a chance that Jones and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett would instruct the team to stay inside in order to avoid the distraction of players who might make individual political statements. To Jones and Garrett, football is what matters most, and the Cowboys really need to win in Arizona tonight.
Over/under .5 total individual protests. -150
While it seems likely that the Cowboys will engage in a display of team unity — the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Cowboys beat reporter, Clarence Hill, reported this afternoon that the team likely will discuss what to do during the anthem sometime later today — any player electing to make himself stick out by engaging in an individual protests is taking a big risk. More likely than not, at least one player will do so, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Cowboys all decide to stick to whatever script the team agrees to in the locker room.