Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott echoed the thoughts of quarterback Dak Prescott in saying he has no problem following the edict of owner Jerry Jones’ national anthem policy.
Jones said the Cowboys players must stand for the anthem with their toes on the line. And no one can stay back in the locker room.
Elliott said it’s a media-driven controversy because the Cowboys were always going to stand as a team.
“I think that’s just the way you guys want to take it,” Elliott said. “Us as a team, we chose to stand together for the national anthem. It was our decision. I think it just shows our culture. It shows that we have unity. We’re going to stand as one. That’s not knocking anyone else who may choose to kneel during the national anthem. But we’re the Dallas Football Cowboys, America’s Team. We stand for the national anthem.”
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Prescott said earlier on Friday that he respects players’ right to protest for social justice and equality but he believes doing it during the national anthem before games is the wrong venue.
“I’d never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so,” Prescott said. “The game of football has always brought me such a peace, and I think it does the same for a lot of people — a lot of people playing the game, a lot of people watching the game, a lot of people that have any impact on the game.
“So when you bring such a controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game, it takes away .... from that. It takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people. For me, I’m all about making a chance and making a difference. I think this whole kneeling, and all of that, was all about just raising awareness, and the fact that we’re still talking about social injustice years later, I think we’ve gotten to that point. I think we’ve proved it.
“We know about social injustice. I’m up for taking a next step, whatever that step may be for action and not just kneeling.
“I’ve always believed in standing up for what I believe in, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
While Elliott said he didn’t hear anything about Jones’ edict and refused to answer any questions about the ultimatum to stand for the anthem or face the prospect of getting cut, Prescott said he wasn’t bothered by it because he has his own views.
“It has no effect to me,” Prescott said of the team policy, “because I do exactly what I’m doing and what I’ve said and what I stand by. Whether I was wearing the star or not, whether I was playing for Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones or any other owner. I believe in what I believe in, and that’s that.”