Jerry and Stephen Jones spent the beginning of last week mining the Dallas Cowboys training camp facility in Oxnard, California. The father-and-son leadership duo made a series of comments, about the Cowboys continued relationship with Papa John's, President Donald Trump and the national anthem over the week that put their players in an impossible position. Late Friday, the face of the Cowboys, third-year quarterback Dak Prescott, stepped on one of those landmines with a series of comments about the anthem.
Here are Prescott's complete remarks to reporters:
"I never protest," 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 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.
"For me, I'm all about making a change and making a difference, and I think this whole kneeling and all of that was just about raising awareness and the fact that we're still talking about social injustice years later. I think we've gotten to that point. I think we've proved, we know the social injustice, I'm up for taking the next step, whatever the next step may be, for action and not just kneeling. I've always believed standing up for what I believe in, and that's what I'm going to continue to do."
So there's some nuance there. Prescott acknowledges why the anthem protests started by then-49ers Colin Kaepernick are important, but says that he wouldn't think about participating in them. The second part is what provoked reaction on Twitter throughout the weekend.
Many tweeters on the left, including New York Daily News columnist Carron Phillips, called out the Cowboys quarterback for being an Uncle Tom.
This meeting/statement means nothing when Jerry Jones, who owns “America’s Team,” has drawn a line in the sand and Dak Prescott is out here basically saying he’s happy being a lemonade serving house negro. https://t.co/0NtE8c4oiy— Carron J. Phillips (@carronJphillips) July 27, 2018
Dak Prescott is the biggest COON in the NFL his quotes in the anthem have cancelled him he’s traded to the Caucasians— My Name Is My Name (@Uncle_J77) July 27, 2018
"You better stand for that national anthem, boy" --- Jerry Jones— Daddy Matty (@YANKEE__MATT) July 28, 2018
"don't worry boss I'll let 'em know"
--- Dak Prescott #ToSumItUp
Live look at Jerry Jones addressing media about his anthem rules along with Dak Prescott pic.twitter.com/FLwyX71G6c— Johnny McIver (@OlSkoolSkins) July 27, 2018
Dallas imam and social-justice activist Omar Suleiman didn't go quite that far, but accused Prescott of being used as a prop against athletes standing up against injustice by kneeling for the anthem.
The black athletes who were used to discredit Muhammad Ali were held up temporarily as heroes only to be forgotten in history. Dak being used as a prop against @kaepernick7 standing next to his owner is embarrassing, yet predictable. https://t.co/5BW2GkBvct— Omar Suleiman (@omarsuleiman504) July 28, 2018
While it's doubtful that being a prop was Prescott's intent, Suleiman has already been proven right. Saturday, Fox News blowhard Lou Dobbs shouted out Prescott on Twitter, #MAGA hashtag and all.
Sunday afternoon, Sarah Palin did the same, calling Prescott's statement "terrific."
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Cowboys QB Dak Prescott's Terrific Take On The National Anthem Protest https://t.co/qmJ0t1Yl5S— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) July 29, 2018
Prescott has two years left on his rookie contract. That's why the situation he's in is so impossible. Sometime during the next two off-seasons, he's going to have the chance to become one of the highest paid players in the NFL. The most likely person to give him that money is Jones.
Prescott can ill afford to piss his boss off.
Dak Prescott has to get to his second contract. He’s not messing that up over the anthem issue. However, he should have not said anything about the anthem. Just zip it Dak.— Exavier Pope (@exavierpope) July 27, 2018