Man who plays national anthem at Cowboys games weighs in on controversy

Anthem protests spark national conversation

DALLAS - This Sunday, all eyes will be on NFL players as they decide whether to kneel during the National Anthem.

But the man who will be playing the anthem in AT&T Stadium this Sunday says he's not concerned if a player or fan chooses to sit.

"I'm playing it for my own reasons," said Freddie Jones, the jazz trumpeter who performs the anthem before every home game.

He's carrying on a Cowboys tradition that's been in place for decades, and he says there is no better way to kick off the game.

"It begins the games in the correct way. They're at a Cowboys game, they came to the game in an American stadium, and it's an American game and it's football,” he said. “And it's everybody's day off to enjoy and be together.”

But the anthem has been a source of discord in recent weeks after the protest started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick over racial injustice. 

His jersey is now selling out, and more NFL players are joining his cause.

But critics are sharp, especially looking toward this Sunday, the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

A Dallas Police Officer who was inspired to serve after the attacks weighed in Friday, penning an open letter to the NFL quarterback.

"I beg -- that you do not sit down for the Star-Spangled Banner on this coming Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 9/11," wrote Officer Dan Russell.

"To do so would be a slap in the face to millions of fans, millions of public servants, millions of Americans, to 9/11 first responders, to the survivors, and to the families of all that were involved and impacted by that terrible, most of all -- to those 2,996 who fell in an act of hatred towards our country and all we stand for," he continued.

As for trumpeter Jones, he supports Kaepernick's right to protest with the anthem.
"The song was written as a protest, don't you think?" he said.

But he'll be playing proudly this Sunday, and hopes the crowd will join in and sing along.

"The anthem goes through all generations,” he said. “And everybody of all generations sing it.”

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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