For the second time this month, Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons landed himself in hot water after referencing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The latest controversy stems from a social media post in which Parsons, who’s rocking No. 11, reacted to a statement from new Cowboys teammate Jaylon Smith, who recently switched from No. 54 to No. 9.
The irony of “9” and “11” side-by-side in the middle of Dallas’ defense apparently was lost on Parsons, who issued an apology following blowback from fans and followers.
“Man people are sick! I would never disrespect my country in any [way]! I was i was supporting my teammate and I jersey numbers! The vet and the rookie! If you took any offense I apologize to all and to all those involved!” he tweeted.
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Insert Foot in Mouth
The No. 12 overall pick in last month’s NFL draft, Parsons used a similarly poor choice of words, alluding to the worst event in American history, just days after the mercurial Penn State product was taken by the Cowboys.
During a May 3 appearance on the Michael Irvin Podcast, Parsons literally described himself and the team’s veteran ‘backers — Smith and Leighton Vander Esch — as a collective “terrorist attack.”
“I bring speed, versatility, physicality,” he said. “I bring that dog and competitiveness. I’m going to make everyone around me better. I’m going to challenge everyone, push everyone. So, you know, I think our morale’s going to go through the roof. I think when you add me next to Jaylon [Smith] and [Leighton] Vander Esch, I think that’s scary, man. You’ve got three athletic linebackers that can all hustle, play and get to the ball. It was scary, now it’s a terrorist attack.”
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Jaylon Drops Statement on New Number
Smith’s decision to assume No. 9 will go down as one of the most controversial number-switches in franchise history. That’s because the sacred digit has not been worn since Tony Romo hung up his cleats, and some feel it should never be worn again out of respect to the legendary quarterback.
Smith contacted Romo prior to the six-figure jersey deal and received the blessing of Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, though his outreaches weren’t enough to stave off criticism from an … ahem, opinionated fan base. Which is why Smith took to Instagram on Thursday, hoping his deeply personal reasoning will clear the air.
The number 9 is more than a number to me. It is a part of me. Always has been. Since I was nine years old, this number has helped me learn how to handle hardship with grace and understanding. The true meaning and symbolism behind the number nine awakened my spirit, and has guided me throughout my whole life.
I have worn this number through peewee, middle school, high school, and college. It’s been represented in all facets of my life (even with #5+4) and I’m excited to be wearing it now with the Cowboys.
I’m thankful, humbled, and motivated more than ever. Locked in and ready for the 2021 season. As always, I’m ready for the opportunity, and I’ll do whatever it takes for us to dominate this year on defense, you’ve got my word.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL