‘Protesting during the anthem is not the time or venue' - NFL star Prescott on kneeling issue
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has wieghed in on the NFL anthem protest issue, accusing the players who kneel during performances of The Star-Spangled Banner of "taking the fun out of football".
Prescott, 25, was asked about the player-led kneeling protests aimed at highlighting social injustice in the US and initiated by former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick, to which he replied he believed protesting during the pre-game playing of the national anthem was not “the time or the venue to do so”.
“I’d never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so," Prescott said. “The game of football has always brought me such peace, and I think it does the same for a lot of people."
The 2016 Pro Bowl player the went on to say the controversy of the protests should not be brought into football games, but did express that he would be willing to take the “next step” towards ending injustice.
"When you bring such a controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game, it takes away ... from that," he said. "It takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people."
"I think this whole kneeling, and all of that, was all about just 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 it. We know about social injustice. I’m up for taking a next step, whatever that step may be for action and not just kneeling."
Prescott's comments come just days after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called US president Donald Trump’s interest in the NFL protest issue “problematic” but added that his players will be obliged to stand for the anthem. Prescott said the ruling had “no effect” on him as he does not partake in kneeling regardless.
“It has no effect to me because I do exactly what I’m doing and what I’ve said and what I stand by. Whether I was wearing the star or not, whether I was playing for Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones or any other owner. I believe in what I believe in, and that’s that,” Prescott said.
The NFL and NFL Players Association had earlier made a joint statement saying that no anthem-related team policies will be enforced for the next several weeks as part of a standstill agreement between the two sides.
Going against the ruling, Jones stated that "our policy is that you stand at the anthem, toe on the line," and gave an emphatic "no" to whether he would support players remaining in the dressing room during the anthem.