Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has taken a beating on social media since his comments last week seemingly supporting owner Jerry Jones’ edict regarding protests against social injustice and racism during the national anthem.
Jones said the Cowboys must stand with their toes on the line or face the possibility of losing their jobs.
Prescott said Jones’ words, which were contrary to NFL policy and prompted a league-wide gag order on the subject, didn’t faze him because he believes in standing and was going to do what he always had done.
Prescott said he understands the reasons behind the protests, which began with former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick two years ago and were continued by a number of other players across the league, most notably Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
But Prescott said he believes it was the wrong time and venue in which to protest.
It prompted a swift and visceral backlash on social media, accusing Prescott of selling out and not supporting a cause very dear to many people of color, especially with President Donald Trump continuing to use the issue to attack the NFL and fire up his base.
Prescott received criticism from journalists, rappers, comedians and some fellow NFL players. His own Twitter and Instagram pages have been bombarded by a number of unflattering memes and comments.
“I am not oblivious to it,” Prescott told the Star-Telegram after practice Tuesday. “You get on social media, you see It. It doesn’t bother me. I said what I said. You have an opinion. Everyone else has an opinion. They are entitled to it as well. I accepted what they said and respect it. They should respect mine.”
Prescott regrets nothing he said. He believes in standing for the anthem because that is a time of reflection for him. He said his views of the protests were misunderstood and that he certainly recognizes racism and inequality issues still plaguing our country.
“I think there was a little misunderstanding of the fact of what I believe in,” Prescott said. “I never said I didn’t believe in social injustice and things that were going on. I just said I didn’t think that the national anthem was the time. It’s two minutes out of our day that we could also be spending embracing what our country should be and what our country is going to be one day that we know that it’s not right now. That is the sad part about it. That it’s not.
“I respect everybody. And power to the people that kneel. That is what they believe in and they should be able to kneel. For me, the game of football has been such a peace. It’s a moment for me to be at peace and think about all the great things our country does have.”
Prescott also said his comments about believing in action over protests were taken out context as well. He never meant to suggest that Kaepernick, Jenkins or any of the other players were only protesting and not doing things in the community.
His point was that “he” wanted to be about action.
“I am for the action,” Prescott said. “I am for joining Malcolm and joining those guys in doing something different. That is what I mean, my taking that next step rather than just kneeling or standing. I don’t think kneeling or standing is creating a solution for us.”