Poe is the primary Cowboys participant to kneel in protest in opposition to racial inequality in the course of the nationwide anthem; his Poe Man’s Dream Basis helps youngsters study.
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys had by no means had a participant kneel in protest in opposition to racial inequality in the course of the nationwide anthem previous to this season.
Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones softened his stance this offseason, within the wake of the homicide of George Floyd. This yr, Jones has allowed his gamers to kneel.
And the primary participant to take action is defensive sort out Dontari Poe.
“Individuals are coming to me and saying they’re pleased with me,” Poe mentioned, “saying that I am standing up for one thing.”
However, does he really feel supported by Jones?
“Um, it goes each methods,” Poe mentioned. “I’d say sure and no. Simply due to the truth that it is Jerry Jones. He has advised us all personally, all, me included, that he is with us. And we positively admire it. He advised me that there was no penalties for me taking a knee. He advised all of the gamers that, advised all of the gamers he is with us. He explains his observe report very properly, of how he is helped individuals in want, and issues of that nature. However me personally, I do know the attain and the impression that Jerry Jones can have. And I really feel like he could make a greater one.”
We requested the Cowboys group if Jones had a response to Poe’s feedback. They directed us to this quote, from an interview Jones gave on the Cowboys flagship radio station earlier this season:
“I wish to say that our hearts, as a company, our hearts exit to the people and the relations who’ve been affected by these instances, these disheartening instances that all of us have seen on tv,” Jones mentioned on 105.3 The Fan. “I need our crew and I need them to be emboldened to be part of change. The dramatic change isn’t going to occur in a single day, however I need our group and our gamers to play a component within the motion of creating it a greater place on this nation. I really feel assured that our gamers have a can-do and what can I do to take part in it. I need the Cowboys to assist make this a greater place.”
For his half, Poe is attempting to make that higher impression, along with his work off the sector.
“I am doing this [kneeling] as a primary step,” he mentioned, “as a result of there is a lengthy highway that we have now to combat on this nation.”
Years in the past, Dontari began his Poe Man’s Dream Basis, with occasions for teenagers locally.
“They like soccer, so we’ll do a camp, a soccer camp,” Poe’s companion Jarie Bolander defined. “However in addition they must study these life expertise. And so they want the chance to know that there is one thing totally different for them.”
So Dontari and his basis have organized occasions the place younger youngsters can present their entrepreneurial skills, in a Shark Tank-like occasion.
“All of us in the present day, all of the individuals who have had an impression on this world had been as soon as youngsters, had been as soon as somebody who had a sponge for a thoughts, and wanted to absorb the data they wanted, to get to the place they’re in the present day,” Poe mentioned. “So, that is all I am attempting to do, in the identical sense, is simply give anyone the instruments to combat the higher combat.”
“You understand, the youngsters, each time we do considered one of these camps, I simply… my coronary heart swells with love, as a result of they’re nice,” Bolander mentioned. “And like [Dontari] mentioned, they seem to be a sponge. There’s simply nothing like seeing a child’s eyes mild up once they determine, ‘Oh, I may do that. I by no means thought I may do that, however I can.'”
As Poe has mentioned, kneeling in assist of racial equality is simply step one. The work he is doing locally is proof constructive of the impression he needs to see on the planet.
“And I need youngsters to know that I can come from this sort of place, come from that sort of mindset, and nonetheless blossom, nonetheless be higher, nonetheless overcome, nonetheless be the very best that I will be, and nonetheless combat for what I imagine is true,” Poe mentioned. “As a result of it would not matter, all the time, what the lots suppose. It is your life, it is your alternative. And I can carry it so far as I can. And I need youngsters to know that they’ll do the identical factor — as a result of that energy inside your self will transfer mountains greater than anyone ever most likely advised them they may.”
Poe and his basis have not been in a position to maintain an occasion this yr, as a result of pandemic. However he is held occasions in his hometown of Memphis, Kansas Metropolis the place he is performed prior to now, and past, and he has each intention of holding a Poe Man’s Dream occasion right here in North Texas.
He additionally has met with some Dallas cops, and has intentions of doing a ride-along, and work with the native police, to enhance the connection between officers and the black neighborhood.