Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said during a press conference Friday that he will not kneel during the National Anthem and that such an approach to dealing with racial injustice isn’t for him.
“I never protest,” Prescott said, according to Dallas News. “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.”
To be sure, Prescott said that he respects why other players may be comfortable with kneeling, but that he prefers to take on racial injustice in different ways. Prescott’s teammate, running back Ezekiel Elliott, agrees, according to Cowboys reporter Clarence Hill, Jr.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been clear from the very beginning that he is against players protesting during the National Anthem. Donald Trump, a buddy of many NFL owners, has used his platform as president to blast players who kneel during the National Anthem, saying that they don’t have any real issue to fight about because of the amount of money they make.
Many players have decided to kneel in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who was the first player to start the protests. Kaepernick has suffered professionally as a result, essentially being locked out of the NFL for the past two seasons. Former 49ers safety and free agent Eric Reid, who was Kaepernick’s biggest supporter, has struggled to find a roster spot. He filed a grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals “stemming from questions Brown asked about national anthem protests during Reid’s visit with the team,” according to Yahoo Sports.
Kaepernick’s stance has sparked debate about the societal role of the black athlete in sports—especially when it comes to issues of race. Louis Moore, associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University, tweeted an extensive thread explaining the historical connections to Prescott’s views and their potential impact.
It is a well-written thread and I suggest you give it a read to help put Prescott’s views on National Anthem protests in perspective.