Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott responded with his trademark class and calm to the racially-charged backlash he received for saying that he'd never protest during the national anthem because he simply doesn't believe "that’s the time or the venue to do so." After being called a "lemonade serving house negro" for his opinion by NY Daily News columnist Carron J. Phillips, Prescott told the press that he doesn't regret his comments.
"Prescott received criticism from journalists, rappers, comedians and some fellow NFL players," the Star-Telegram reports. "His own Twitter and Instagram pages have been bombarded by a number of unflattering memes and comments." One of the most egregious responses came from Phillips:
But while Prescott says he's certainly "not oblivious" to the at-times vicious and racially-charged backlash, he's not going to let it influence his opinion.
"I am not oblivious to it," Prescott told the Star-Telegram Tuesday after practice in Oxnard, California. "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 says that while he respects the opinions of those who support the anthem protests, he's not taking back a thing. Those who still criticize him perhaps don't understand the nuances of his views.
"I think there was a little misunderstanding of the fact of what I believe in," he told the outlet. "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."
Prescott also said he wasn't suggesting that those taking a knee weren't also taking action. Personally, he plans to focus more on action than protest. "I am for the action," he said. "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."
The comments that resulted in the flood of criticism came Friday, when Prescott told reporters, "I'd never protest during 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 a 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 that have any impact of the game," he continued, NBC Sports reported. "So when you bring such a controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game, it takes away ... from that. It takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people. I'm all about making a chance and making a difference, [but] 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." (Read Prescott's full comments here.)