Wednesday morning, after dozens of players, teams and leagues stepped out first, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott decided it was time to speak out about the death of George Floyd and the relationship between police and the black communities they are supposed to serve.
"As a Black Multiracial American, I am disgusted and unsettled!" one of the most cautious men in sports wrote on Instagram. "I am as optimistic as they come! I try to understand and find the positive in every situations or aspect of my life."
Over four pages on images and text, Prescott does his best to express solidarity with those protesting Floyd's death while making sure it's clear that he's against looting and supports the police and the United States. He tries to leave a little something for everyone.
"As long as cops continue to profile blacks as a threat, cops will continue to be perceived as untrustworthy."
"I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving your communities."
"I have viewed these protests and riots in our streets as a form of strength and an attempt to show we as Black people have rights that aren't being perceived equally as our counterparts."
"These riots have caused consternation and confusion in an already Crisis-driven world."
At the end of his missive, Prescott pledges $1 million to both "address systemic racism" and "improve our police training."
Wow. Dak Prescott just took to his Instagram to talk about the murder of George Floyd, the death of his brother and social injustice.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) June 3, 2020
He is pledging $1 million to improve police training and address systematic racism in America.
What a gesture. pic.twitter.com/7bHxmwhsEt
As equivocal as Prescott's comments are, they are significantly stronger than those he made about NFL players' national anthem protests in 2018.
"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."
Prescott's anthem comments got him excoriated by members of the online left. He was accused of being a prop for Jerry Jones, who was strongly against the anthem protests, or worse.
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— Dr. Omar Suleiman (@omarsuleiman504) July 28, 2018
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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
Reaction to Prescott's promise Wednesday was more positive, although some questioned the wisdom of giving cash to the police.
Dallas police after Dak Prescott gives them one million dollars. pic.twitter.com/aNAOo0sQMU— dos. (@DosRivers) June 3, 2020
Dak Prescott just donated $1M to the police.— Dylan (@dyllyp) June 3, 2020
I have no words.