Dak Prescott: Protests during anthem ought to be personal decision
It’s unclear exactly how the Dallas Cowboys will handle any potential protests during the national anthem given owner Jerry Jones’ longstanding and strong aversion to the act.
Instead of toeing the presumptive company line, however, superstar quarterback Dak Prescott offered up a different take on peaceful pregame protests that is expected to be front and center throughout the 2020 NFL season.
“That’s what this country is about, the freedom to do that, the freedom to express yourself,” Prescott said Wednesday, per Todd Archer of ESPN. “We heard Mr. Jones [Cowboys owner Jerry Jones] talk about grace and sharing grace and having grace with players in what they want to do. If I had it my way, that’s exactly what we’d do is express ourselves individually but love and support one another collectively.”
Prescott’s mention of grace and Jones is in reference to what the Cowboys owner recently said would be required out of both the front office and players when it comes to how to approach any pregame protests.
As noted, Jones has long been fiercely opposed to players kneeling during the anthem. Late last month, Jones proposed offering a potential compromise with the team’s players in order to avoid a standoff over the issue.
The Cowboys organization has made it abundantly clear to its players on multiple occasions in recent years that any act of protest during the national anthem would not be tolerated.
However, Jones did participate in a “demonstration of unity” during a Week 3 game in 2017 when he locked arms and kneeled with players before the anthem. He then stood when the anthem was played, however, and it sounds like the Cowboys owner is looking to turn back the clock to 2017 to seek a resolution for this season.
What’s more, Cowboys nose tackle Dontari Poe expressed his intent to kneel during the anthem this coming season in July. His announcement came amid league-wide criticism of Jones over his protracted silence amid the outcry and calls for social justice throughout the the NFL amid ongoing systemic racism and police misconduct.
It of course remains to be seen how Cowboys brass handles players calling out for their opportunity to seek ways to protest. With that in mind, Jones may have a hard time getting exactly what he wants this time around.