Smith on Sports: Sometimes taking stand, means stand

Danny P. Smith

Sports Editor

Sometimes taking a stand means stand.

On Friday, former Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys gave his thoughts when asked about protesting social injustice in America during the national anthem before professional sporting events.

Even though he respects the rights for people to protest for what they believe in, Prescott said the national anthem is not the time to do it.

Prescott has said all along that he is going to stand during the national anthem. He did not back down from those views when asked about it again at training camp in Oxnard, California.

"I'd never protest during the anthem, and I don't think that's the time or the venue to do so," Prescott said.

It’s a bold move for Prescott to come out with that opinion and has already been criticized for it. His comments are certainly not shared by the majority of the players on this issue.

Most of them took a knee, raised their fist in the air or locked arms with teammates during the national anthem last season to protest.

The league attempted to take steps in the offseason to discourage players from protesting during the national anthem. There was a policy put in place that players would stand for the national anthem or face discipline from the league. There was an option for the players to remain in the locker room if they felt they couldn’t stand, but the enforcement of that appears to be put on hold.

Dallas management has said this week it would cut any player that decided to remain in the locker room for the national anthem.

It doesn’t matter to Prescott whether he’s playing for the Cowboys or any other franchise. His beliefs on the subject were already formed way before he entered the NFL.

This doesn’t mean that Prescott doesn’t approve of protesting in some form, but said there’s a better time and place to do so.

Whatever our opinion may be on the purpose of the protests, that’s not the problem. Protesting during the national anthem is the problem.

Players in any professional sport should respect the flag and honor the country that has afforded them the opportunity to perform and be paid while doing it. They are very fortunate to be in the position they are in and should realize that.

Maybe it’s just the fact they feel it’s the most visible way to make their point and anything behind the scenes would be less effective.

It just seems more important to emphasize patriotism first and take care of protesting later by using a different avenue.

Prescott seems to get it. Hopefully other players will follow his lead.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.