Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 19-3 at AT&T Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.
Photo: Tom Pennington (Getty Images)

Dak Prescott is a black man. He’s also a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most profitable franchises in all of sports.

The Dallas Cowboys is owned by Jerry Jones. Jerry Jones is a white man. He’s also Dak Prescott’s boss. Jones is a Trump-supporting, good ole boy from Arkansas who’s not a fan of black protest during the national anthem; which is to say, again, Jerry Jones is a white man.

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Dak Prescott was raised in Louisiana and played college football in Mississippi, both of which are rife with the history of black men who have been publicly castrated for simply being black. Dak Prescott might as well be every black man in corporate America who’s looking to save his job, provide for his family and, in turn, denounce the righteous part of his blackness; which is to say: Dak Prescott is a black man.

In short, Jones came out and publicly said that all his boys would be standing for the national anthem. “Toes on the line” was the Jones soundbite that smelled of sweat, slave blood and tears standing at the end of a whip waiting to be inspected (as in a slave auction or the NFL combine). Jones also insinuated that he would throw players off the plantation team if they did not follow his commands.

Prescott not only agreed with his owner, but he added that he didn’t think that protesting during the national anthem was the right way to go about getting one’s voice heard. It’s been the moderate white supremacist position to protest against unjust killings of black men, women and children by police and it sounds like this: We aren’t against the protest. We are simply against the time in which players have decided to protest.

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It’s all bullshit. It’s been widely documented that taking a knee or raising a fist during the national anthem has nothing to do with the flag, the troops, or a 203-year-old song. Every player has said it. In fact, it’s been widely documented that Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee was recommended by a veteran who suggested that a knee would be better than sitting during the anthem, which could be perceived as disrespectful.

This was never about the anthem, and we know that, too.

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So Prescott came out and said that he would never protest and social media went apeshit. America’s quarterback was called everything from a house negro to an Uncle Tom and then Prescott doubled down on his stance. Prescott said that while he understood why players felt the need to protest, he was going to have his toes on the line.

“I am not oblivious to it,” Prescott told the Star-Telegram after practice Tuesday. “You get on social media, you see It. It doesn’t bother me. I said what I said. You have an opinion. Everyone else has an opinion. They are entitled to it as well. I accepted what they said and respect it. They should respect mine.”

Prescott continued:

I think there was a little misunderstanding of the fact of what I believe in. I never said I didn’t believe in social injustice and things that were going on. I just said I didn’t think that the national anthem was the time. It’s two minutes out of our day that we could also be spending embracing what our country should be and what our country is going to be one day that we know that it’s not right now. That is the sad part about it. That it’s not.

I respect everybody. And power to the people that kneel. That is what they believe in and they should be able to kneel. For me, the game of football has been such a peace. It’s a moment for me to be at peace and think about all the great things our country does have even though we know it’s not a good for us right now.”

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The problem with Prescott’s opinion is that he’s aligned himself with the Make America Great Again crowd. Much like Kanye before him, these moments don’t exist in a bubble. So Prescott has now become the poster boy for the alt-whites who hold him up as the black boy who gets it.

Tomi Lahren, aka the Devil’s most favorite ingrown toenail, literally praised Prescott’s position as the quarterback of America’s team.

Prescott isn’t alone. Scores of black men across the country face this position every day. They walk into their corporate jobs and fake laugh at white humor or lose a portion of their blackspeak so as not to offend white sensibilities. I think the whiteballing of former NFL veterans Kaepernick and Pro Bowler Eric Reid have proven to be an eyeopener for those blacks who might want to buck back at the system but don’t want to lose their jobs in the process.

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While it’s easy to Monday morning quarterback Prescott’s position, remember that every day, a smiling black man in a suit and tie is somewhere quelling his instinct to tell his white boss to fuck off for the betterment of his family and those coming behind him. Maybe that man needs the money. Maybe—aside from enduring the drizzle of microaggressions raining down on him every day—he loves his job or his career.

Or maybe, a black man from Mississippi and Arkansas prefers castration to exile.

Prescott is a black man playing quarterback for a white-owned team and he was going to have it rough no matter what he said. He plays the most visible position for the most visible team in the most visible sport in America. Had he claimed that he was going to protest, he’d put himself in the direct line of fire for Jones to publicly beat him and we see what’s happened to those choosing to stand.

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Either way, he was screwed, but he made the decision keeps the lights on. And before everyone gets all high and mighty about what they would’ve done, know this: Kaepernick and Reid took the bullet for the Movement for Black Lives and many of us can’t stop posting football game photos on their social media timeline. The protest against the NFL has literally dwindled down to not watching football and we couldn’t even collectively do that.

But this is the important part: Colin Kaepernick never asked Dak or anyone else to kneel with him. Most black NFL players didn’t. Prescott has the right to stand just like Kaepernick has the right to kneel. And the world should understand why Prescott chose his stance just like the world should understand Kaepernick’s.

Prescott should also understand that his stance will be used to discredit the players who only seek to fight injustice and inequality. He had the opportunity to say nothing but he chose his side. He should acknowledge that there are white supremacists and racists on his side. He needs to realize that he may slowly become their mascot.

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But Dak Prescott is no different than the man who cuts off his dreadlocks to comply with his company dress code. He is no different than the ones who say nothing when someone in the boardroom makes a slightly bigoted joke.

I don’t hate Dak Prescott, I hate the world in which we live and what it has become, and Dak Prescott didn’t create that, he’s just trying to make it through another day like the rest of us.

Which is to say: In one way or another, every black person has been forced, at one point or another, to smile, stand in the pocket and take a hit for America’s team.