Cowboys Entered First Practice Arm-In-Arm With Dallas Police & Families Fallen Officers

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Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Magnus Ahrens, 8, son of slain Dallas officer Lorne Ahrens) and his aunt Erika Swyryn walk in with team before opening day of training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Saturday, July 30, 2016. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

OXNARD, CA –  To say the Dallas Cowboys haven’t been the classiest NFL organization in recent years isn’t a stretch, but they may have just redeemed anything they had against them today at practice.

The city of Dallas has been in mourning ever since the faithful night where 11 police officers were shot, 5 of them fatally during a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest on July 7th.

In a wonderful gesture, the team flew members of the Dallas Police Department along with the families of the fallen officers out to their training facility in California to not just watch practice, but participate in it.

“This moment here is overwhelming,” Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas who also attended told reporters. “Our profession — and I’ve repeated this — hasn’t seen a lot of support from communities because of some of the problems we see in communities with police relationships. So support like this really is priceless.”

After taking the field in four waves, players and coaches formed a circle with the Dallas contingent for a moment of silence. Brown addressed the team and shouted “Dallas strong” as he wrapped up his remarks.

“I would like to say thank you to the Dallas Cowboys for lifting a city up today,” Rawlings told reporters after the brief ceremony. “Those families, those young kids — to be arm-in-arm with a quarterback, a coach or a big lineman — they’ll remember that for the rest of their lives.”

“The special thing about our game is that it can bring a community together,” Witten said. “It can lift you up when you’re down. Today was all about that. We just wanted to honor them, just show support and a tribute to them.” 

Witten, a 13-year NFL veteran and father of four, held hands with 8-year-old Magnus Ahrens, son of slain Dallas officer Lorne Ahrens.

“It was special to see the kids that were here … maybe hug a loved on there, a wife or a mother,” Witten said. “What they’ve gone through, I can’t even fathom that. Just hopefully put a smile on their face and show them how much we respect them and we want to honor them in that.”

The team released a statement saying the ceremony was about unity.

“Our players felt that there is no better example of what unity is — and can be about — than a sports team,” the statement said. “And they felt they had the opportunity — for the first time they were together this year — to send this very important message.”

Brown said his speech to the team carried a similar message.

“I talked about responsibility and playing a role in our society as pro athletes, to have a voice in the conversation about race, to have a voice in the conversation about communities and police departments and police-involved shootings,” Brown said. “I think that people need to hear, from all parts of society, a discussion on race.”

The Cowboys also unveiled a helmet decal they will wear in the preseason and possibly the regular season. It says “arm in arm” in a circle around a star meant to symbolize a mix of the Cowboys’ famous logo and the star Dallas police wear on their uniforms.

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