USATSI

The NFL has reversed course on national anthem protests this offseason, publicly encouraging players to use the pre-game tradition as a platform for raising awareness of issues like police brutality and systemic racism. The Dallas Cowboys, who were among the most stringent of teams requiring players to stand for the anthem upon league-wide protests back in 2017, have yet to formally declare their current stance on the issue. But their star quarterback has an opinion on it.

“I hope we can express ourselves individually,” Dak Prescott told reporters Wednesday,¬†per USA Today¬†“but love and respect one another collectively.”

The fifth-year signal-caller couched his remarks in between a reference to team owner Jerry Jones’ call for “grace” in approaching the anthem this season. Jones was especially outspoken about protests years ago, demanding his players have their “toe on the line” while standing together for the anthem, but softened his stance in the wake of this year’s racial unrest.

“That was then, two years ago … This is now,” Jones said earlier this month, per USA Today. “We’ve had very, very sensitive times … What I do want us to show and be a part of is a word called ‘grace.’ Not only grace in our actions but in our understanding of where they’re coming from. I want our players to understand the perception of where they’re coming from regarding (the American) flag and the sensitivity there and the many memories there. I want our fans to understand … where our players are coming from.”

Prescott, for what it’s worth, essentially echoed Jones’ previous stance in 2017, doubling down on a decision to stand and not protest during the anthem. It’s unclear if he intends to join a growing list of NFL players who intend to kneel during the anthem this year.

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