Dak Prescott weighs in on Jerry Jones and race relations after LeBron James revives conversation

Dak Prescott spoke Thursday about the photo of Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones at a 1957 desegregation demonstration, a day after LeBron James revived the conversation. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott spoke Thursday about the photo of Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones at a 1957 desegregation demonstration, a day after LeBron James revived the conversation. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

FRISCO, Texas — After a photo surfaced of Jerry Jones at a 1957 desegregation demonstration, the Dallas Cowboys team owner and general manager discussed it at length last week.

Wednesday night, LeBron James resurfaced the conversation in asking about the relative coverage between Jones’ photo and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s recent promotion of an antisemitic film.

Thursday, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was asked if he wanted to weigh in further.

“Discussing race in general?” Prescott clarified.

The reporter said yes.

“Obviously we can be more empathetic and give grace to one another, regardless of race,” Prescott said. “From the times we’ve come from to where we are now, thinking about the growth we’ve had. That’s who I am, how I think, optimistic. I mean (as) a guy who is completely biracial, Black and white, it’s easy for me to speak on race on one side or another.”

Prescott paused, uncharacteristic for his eloquence and poise as he acknowledged the complexity of how we judge others: “I don’t know if I’ve fully processed it all the way, honestly.”

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The archival photo of Jones, which ran as part of an in-depth Washington Post feature, was taken on Sept. 9, 1957, the day six Black students were to attend classes at his North Little Rock High School. This was five days after the famous “Little Rock Nine” episode, for which President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent federal troops to safely transport nine Black students into Arkansas’ Little Rock Central High. Jones’ high school was roughly 4 miles away.

There, on Sept. 9, North Little Rock students sought to block Black students’ entry. Jones, who was one month shy of his 15th birthday, attended. He says “curiosity” rather than belief in the cause drew him to the hostile and racist event that ultimately delayed segregation at the school by a decade, per the Post.

“That was, gosh, 65 years ago and curious kid, I didn’t know at the time the monumental event that was going on,” Jones said Thanksgiving night. “I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me: Just continue to do everything we can to not have those kind of things happen.”

Jones declined to confirm that he regretted attending the demonstration, emphasizing what the teenage Jerry was instead most concerned about: whether he’d get in trouble with his football coach, who had warned players to stay away. (Jones said his coaches indeed “kicked my ass” for attending.)

But he fielded two rounds of more than half a dozen questions as he sought to share his perspective and consider those around him.

Prescott said James’ exact comments were “on Jerry to address.”

“In the same sense, it’s 65 years ago and how times have changed,” Prescott said. “I mean look at the man’s resume since then, right? As I said, I give grace. I think that’s a conversation and question not only for him but for you guys and how y’all feel and how accountable y’all have been in covering and discussing the disparities and differences in race.

“As I said: I’m here for growth and giving grace and trying to make this world a better place. That’s who I am at my core and what I believe in. Unfortunate things come up from the past, pictures, and they show how far we’ve come, but at the same sense, they’re a reminder of how short of a time that was ago. That wasn’t that long ago that we were all sitting on different sides, and we weren’t together. But as I said, I wouldn’t be here if it were still that way.

“So I believe in grace and change. Those are questions for Jerry for y’all, honestly, that I don’t have quite the answers for.”