OXNARD, Calif. – Dak Prescott stood on the bed of a golf cart and tugged on a Dallas Cowboys cap. The annual blue/white scrimmage had just wrapped up Sunday evening, and the quarterback was ready to speak.
Prescott referenced the chemistry with the Cowboys’ new receivers. He discussed his throwing mechanics, even. And then, after reiterating his stance on kneeling during the national anthem to protest against social injustices, Prescott provided his thoughts on the mural that has circulated on social media.
“Everybody is umm…” Prescott said, pausing. “Everybody has their own opinion.”
The mural shows Prescott’s face in the form of the famous image from Jordan Peele’s Academy Award-winning film “Get Out.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported its existence in Dallas and identified an Arlington, Texas, native named Trey Wilder as the mural’s creator.
Wilder roots for the Cowboys, but on Friday morning, he watched a YouTube video of “The Breakfast Club” podcast, a show hosted by Charlamagne Tha God. The video criticizing Prescott’s comments about protesting during the anthem struck a chord with Wilder, propelling him to purchase eight cans of spray paint for nearly $64.
Then, Wilder ventured over to a property called “Fabrication Yard” and began his work of art.
“Honestly, I know he’s a superstar, but I’m not scared of Dak Prescott,” Wilder told the Star-Telegram then. “But like in the movie, maybe [the piece] will be a flash for him. I think, with that platform, it was just weird how he dismissed the whole situation, especially being a black man himself.”
To clarify, Prescott did not “dismiss the whole situation.” On July 30, after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said players will be required to stand for the anthem, he said this: “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 other people, people playing the game, people watching the game and any people that have an impact on the game.”
The comment did not sit well with Charlamagne Tha God. Nor did it sit well with Wilder.
On social media, a number of folks expressed their discontent with the comments. So, Prescott spoke to the Star-Telegram and expanded on his thoughts.
Ultimately, he said he was misunderstood.
“I never said I didn’t believe in social injustice and things that were going on,” Prescott told the Star-Telegram. “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.”
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 6, 2018
It has now been almost two years since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem in protest of social injustices. The action sparked a movement of players doing the same.
In May, the NFL imposed a new anthem policy stating: “Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.” That policy was recently halted and is being re-examined by the league and the players union.
Jones’ comments followed the ruling. Prescott’s did, too, which brings it all back to Sunday. The sun was falling on the practice fields in Oxnard, and the Cowboys quarterback was finishing up his interview.
“[The national anthem conversation] is probably one of the most controversial topics we’ve had in the game since I’ve been in it,” Prescott said.
He then hopped off the golf cart and headed for the locker room, knowing the conversation will not cease any time soon.
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