Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott weighed in on the ongoing symbolic protest by some National Football League players who take a knee when the national anthem is played in pre-game ceremonies.
Drafted by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Mississippi State, Prescott went from backup to starter when the now-retired Tony Romo suffered an injury. Prescott led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record in his initial season, clinching the NFC East title. He was awarded NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and named to the Pro Bowl. Prescott finished the stellar season with a 67.8 completion percentage, 23 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 104.9. He also rushed for six touchdowns.
Currently unemployed, former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick famously knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner” last season as a protest against police brutality and racial injustice.
The NFL free agent’s unsigned status as either a starter or, more likely, a backup at this stage of his career has consumed a tremendous amount of oxygen in the sports media industry, and the media in general, and has only intensified as the NFL regular season nears. It’s unclear whether Kaepernick’s controversial political activism and NFL owners’ concerns about distractions it might cause or his declining skills — or a combination of both — have kept the signal caller off the gridiron so far.
As an example of the interest in this issue among sports journalists, a Yahoo Sports reporter asked Dak Prescott whether he would consider participating in the national anthem protest, the Dallas Morning News detailed.
The second-year star responded as follows.
“No, not at all. I mean, it’s bigger than I think some of us think. It’s just important for me to go out there, hand over my heart, represent our country, and just be thankful and not take anything I’ve been given and my freedom for granted.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is on record as saying that he strongly prefers players to honor the U.S. flag but apparently has never ordered his players to observe any particular form of behavior during the anthem ceremony.
In a discussion of Prescott’s remarks on the Fox Sports 1 program Speak for Yourself, panelist Eric Davis seemed to suggest that the reporter’s question is the type of distraction that Kaepernick poses to an NFL team, even without signing with one.
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Colin Kaepernick Needs To Choose Between Football And Activism, Jim Brown Says [Video]
Speak for Yourself co-host Jason Whitlock, a longtime dissenter about the Kaepernick protest, indicated in the clip embedded below that he wasn’t surprised by Dak Prescott’s comments.
“Eventually the silent majority does get the courage to speak up, and I think if you went around the league, most guys are blessed enough to make it to the NFL, blessed enough to take care of their families because they’re in the NFL, are very appreciative of America and the opportunities that are presented here in America, and most guys [think] ‘hey, there are problems here in America, but I don’t need to address them during the national anthem while I’m in uniform, while I’m playing in a league that has blessed me…’ And so I think common sense eventually will rule. I think there has been a loud vocal minority that have tried to shame everybody…we all have to sit around and pretend that America is this evil place, and as a black person you have no chance. That’s not true to my experience, wasn’t true to my father’s experience, my mother, my brothers. I can’t tell a lie. America is not perfect, but you’re not going to get me to take a dump on America…”
The contrarian Whitlock — the former Kansas City Star and HuffPost columnist, and Ball State University football player — rejoined Fox Sports after two tours of duty with ESPN and now is the co-host of the above-mentioned Speak for Yourself airing weekdays on FS1 at 5 p.m. ET. The sports roundtable appears to be the Fox network’s counter-programming to ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. With views that seldom fit into either the left or right paradigm, Whitlock is a vocal critic of what he considers the intrusion of progressive ideology into sports culture.
Last week, Whitlock claimed that the Kaepernick protest has never been about police brutality. Instead, it was an attention-getting technique for Kaepernick who is/was unhappy that he lost the starting job in San Francisco and is still unsigned by any other NFL team.
NFL legend Jim Brown has publicly advised Colin Kaepernick to decide whether he wants to pursue political activism or football. The Hall of Famer also declared that he would never do anything to desecrate the flag or the national anthem.
Led by Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys were due to play the Houston Texans tomorrow night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but the NFL has canceled the game to allow the Texans squad to return home to their families amidst Hurricane Harvey. The Cowboys open the regular season on Sunday night, September 10, against division rival New York Giants, in Arlington.
[Featured Image by Michael Owen Baker/AP Images]