Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott is in favor of keeping politics out of football as he condemned the act of protesting during the national anthem.
During a press conference at the team’s training camp Friday (July 27), the 25-year-old answered questions about the NFL protests. He also reacted to owner Jerry Jones’ comments about how athletes looking to protest would not be welcomed on the field.
“I never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so,” he said. “The game of football has always brought me such 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 who have any impact of the game—so when you bring such controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game it takes away. It takes away from that, it takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people.”
Given that the NFL is rooted in controversy with starling research about the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), sexual assault accusations and suspected cheating, social injustice isn’t the biggest distraction in the league.
Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee for racial injustice shined a light on the priorities of the league with teams and some players paying homage to former 49ners’ act a whole year later. Since his courageous act, Kaepernick has donated over a $1 million to organizations dedicated to children’s education, victims of domestic violence and oppressed communities.
Other players like Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and Martellus Bennett have also contributed to the larger picture with their respected projects. Jenkins helped create the Players Coalition for players fighting criminal justice reform and Bennett allowing his pen to speak for him with the book, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.
Despite all the actions taken by athletes for the movement, Prescott’s statements continued to lack understanding of the movement.
“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,” he added. “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.”
Prescott’s teammate Ezekiel Elliott shared similar thoughts Saturday (July 28).
“Us as a team, we chose to stand together for the national anthem,” Elliott said. “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.”