Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is finding that the controversy regarding his comments on the social justice protests isn’t going away as quickly as the two interceptions he threw in practice Sunday.
And while Prescott quickly regretted a late throw to the sideline to receiver Cole Beasley that turned into a Pick 6 by cornerback Anthony Brown, he has no regrets about his comments regarding national anthem.
He is not surprised and expected some backlash.
Still, he believes his comments were misunderstood, which continues to manifest itself in negative reactions on social media and a recent mural of painted of him by Arlington-artist Trey Wilder, who depicted Prescott being in the sunken place from the movie “Get Out.”
The Fabrication Yard, located in the Trinity Groves area of Dallas near an intersection of Interstate 30 and Interstate 35.
“Everybody has their own opinion,” Prescott said when asked about the mural. “It is what it is. When I made my statements on the anthem, I knew there would be backlash. No surprises.”
Asked if the continued criticism was unfair, Prescott said: “As I said, I made my statement. I stand by what I said. I just said some people may have misunderstood it or whatever. I feel strongly about what I said. And it is what it is.”
Wilder told the Star-Telegram on Saturday that he hopes the mural wakes up something in Prescott.
“Honestly, I know he’s a superstar, but I’m not scared of Dak Prescott,” Wilder said. “But like in the movie, maybe [the piece] will be a flash for him. I think, with that platform, it was just weird how he dismissed the whole situation, especially being a black man himself.”
Prescott is simply trying to stand tall in the pocket as he prepares for the 2018 season while understanding he’s caught in the middle of “one of the most controversial topics we’ve had in the game since I’ve been in it.”
It began when owner Jerry Jones opened training camp re-stating a zero-tolerance policy within the organization regarding protesting during the national anthem. Jones and vice-president Stephen Jones said a player would be disciplined and even cut if they didn’t stand for the anthem with their “toes on the line.”
Prescott said Jones’ policy didn’t bother him because he always stood for the anthem as he saw it as a time for reflection and believed it was the wrong time and place to protest.
That answer drew a visceral backlash from people of color who supported the protests by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and continued by many players across the NFL to shine a light on racism and police brutality, most notably Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Prescott then clarified his remarks to the Star-Telegram later in the week, while pointedly acknowledging the 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.”