Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is defying critics and standing by his comments that the national anthem is not the right time to protest against the country.
Despite the quick backlash over his comments, Prescott says he is standing by his criticism of the protests.
“I am not oblivious to it,” Prescott told the Star-Telegram. “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.”
During an interview with Yahoo Sports last week, Prescott insisted that he is “not at all tempted” to take a knee in protest against the country during the playing of the national anthem.
“[I]t’s bigger than I think some of us think,” Prescott explained. “It’s just important for me to go out there, hand over my heart, represent our country and just be thankful and not take anything I’ve been given and my freedom for granted.”
The QB also said he would “never protest during the anthem,” adding, “and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so.”
Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott: I’d never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so pic.twitter.com/2xbb2NnhIJ
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 28, 2018
The 2016 Pro-Bowl player quickly became a target of attack from those who support the anti-American protests. Actor D.L. Hughley, for instance, used the racial epithet of “boy” to attack Prescott for his patriotism.
Hughley’s venom was harsh. “I understand you want to make your money,” he said on his radio show. “You could have said nothing, but you chose to speak for the master. You chose to speak for the master. And I say this — it’s perfect for that two players who would speak up for the Cowboys owner — at least you got the ’boy’ part right.”
Others also slammed the player. Oakland Raiders linebacker Tahir Whitehead, for instance, accused Prescott of supporting Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ anthem stance merely to keep his endorsement contracts.
Despite all the attacks, Prescott says he is not backing away from his respect for the lag. But he did tell the Star-Telegram that he did not think the players who have protested have otherwise done nothing to help the community.
‘I think there was a little misunderstanding of the fact of what I believe in,’ Prescott said. ‘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.’
The fourth round 2016 NFL Draft pick said his comments about action over protests were taken out of context.
“I am for the action,” Prescott concluded. “I am for joining Malcolm and joining those guys in doing something different. That is what I mean, my taking that next step rather than just kneeling or standing. I don’t think kneeling or standing is creating a solution for us.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.