Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday he was just a “curious kid” when he was part of a group of white students confronting Black students outside North Little Rock High School.
“That was, gosh, 65 years ago, a curious kid,” Jones said.
The photo, shot by the Associated Press in 1957, shows a group of Black students trying to integrate classes at North Little Rock High School when Jones was a 15-year-old sophomore.
The young Black men are blocked from entering the school by a much larger group of white teens.
A Sept. 9, 1957, AP Photo shows Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the background of a group of defiant white students at Arkansas’ North Little Rock High School blocking the doors of the school, denying access to six African-American students enrolled in the school. Moments later the African American students were shoved down a flight of stairs and onto the sidewalk, where city police broke up the altercation.
The Cowboys owner, now 80 years old, spoke about the issue after Thursday’s Cowboys game.
“I didn’t know at the time the monumental event, really, that was going on and I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am,” Jones said. “And that would remind me just to continue doing everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen.”
Little Rock was at the center of the civil rights movement at the time, and Arkansas schools were desegrated soon after the photo of Jones was taken.
Jones says he showed up to see what was going on — not to participate in the mob.
Defiant white students at Arkansas’ North Little Rock High School block the doors of the school, denying access to six African-American students enrolled in the school Sept. 9, 1957. Moments later the African American students were shoved down a flight of stairs and onto the sidewalk, where city police broke up the altercation.
“Nobody there had any idea, frankly, what was going to take place. You didn’t have all the last 70 years of reference and all the things that were going (on),” he said.
The Post article also raises questions about why Jones has never hired a Black head coach.
Jones acknowledges in his interview that racial change in the NFL’s coaching ranks has come slowly but adds, when it comes to diversity, he wants to be the “first in line.”
At the time the photo was taken, Jones said he wasn’t trying to stop the Black students from entering the high school. He said he was only he would get in trouble with his football coach who had warned players not to be there.