If Dak Prescott didn’t win himself a permanent spot in Mississippi’s collective heart with his All-American performance at Mississippi State, he’s done it with his response to the NFL national anthem protests.
The current Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback made comments in July saying it was time to move on, and then this week he defended those statements despite criticism from fellow athletes and commentators.
“I made my statements. I stand by what I said,” he was quoted as saying Sunday by ESPN. “Some people may have misunderstood or whatever, but I know what I said, and I feel strongly about what I said.”
Here’s exactly what Prescott said:
"I never protest during the anthem, and I don't think that's the time or the venue to do so. 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 of the game. So when you bring such a 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 to a lot of people.
"So for me, I'm all about making a change, making a difference, and I think this whole kneeling and all that was all about just raising awareness. The fact that we're still talking about social injustice years later, I think we've got to that point. I think we've proved and we know that there's social injustice. So I'm for taking a next step that 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."
Prescott’s points — that football is an escape from the world’s problems and that the point the protestors were making has been made — are good ones.
Also, credit to him for not backpedaling in the face of criticism from something he really meant, as so many in the public eye do. It was amusing to see talking heads on TV arguing over whether Prescott was pressured to say what he did; clearly that’s not the case, and this is how he truly feels. It says something about the mindset of those on the left that they are so convinced of their position that they don’t see how anyone could disagree without being pressured to do so.
We have thought from the beginning that the protests, where mostly black players have knelt during the national anthem to raise attention against police brutality, have painted with too broad a stroke. They’ve insulted the entire nation — which is far more supportive of racial, social and religious differences than most countries — rather than more narrowly attacking the specific (and legitimate) problems they’re trying to bring attention to. And now Prescott’s statements show that even those who are more sympathetic to the protestors’ actions have tired of the distraction. It’s time to get back to football.
— Charlie Smith