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Dak Discusses Mental Health, Breonna Taylor


FRISCO, Texas – It's a testament to the year we're living through that the starting quarterback's press conference could touch on so many different topics.

Of course, in his regular Thursday phone call with reporters, Dak Prescott was asked about football. He downplayed the idea that this Week 3 trip to Seattle is about himself against Russell Wilson, adding that he has faith in his defense to handle the Seahawks' star quarterback.

He also recognized the newest face in Seattle's huddle, recalling Jamal Adams' impact on last season's loss to the New York Jets.

"I obviously played him when he was up in New York. But just knowing he can disrupt the game," Prescott said. "You've got to account for him when he's around the line of scrimmage or in pass protection, whether you're running the ball in his direction."

But interspersed within the questions about the game this weekend were plenty of other talking points – talking points that cannot be avoided in a year that's seen a global pandemic as well as unprecedented social unrest.

Perhaps the most poignant point of the entire conversation was the final question, asking Prescott for his thoughts on this week's verdict in the shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.

"That's disgusting. I don't understand that one at all," Prescott said.

On Thursday, a state grand jury indicted one of three officers involved in the March shooting of Taylor on three counts of wanton endangerment. The other two officers were not indicted. The details of Taylor's death have become widely controversial, and – along with the death of George Floyd in May – have sparked protests around the country over the last few months.

"There's a lot of things in this country that I don't understand that we're looking at right now," Prescott continued. "It's about us educating ourselves, about us getting registered to vote and going out there and doing that. And making sure that we're educated on who we're voting for and what they're going to do while they're in office. That's one of the biggest things I say we've taken a step as a team is trying to just talk about that -- the importance to vote, the importance for our voices to be heard throughout our community and be leaders there. That's simply unacceptable and don't understand an officer not being charged in that case."

Prescott also talked at length about the subject of mental health, which has been a topic of conversation since he first talked about dealing with depression and anxiety during an interview earlier this year.

The subject has been well covered in the past two weeks, but it came back to the forefront when footage was released of Prescott and Atlanta tight end Hayden Hurst speaking after last week's game. Hurst, who wore a microphone for the game, took the time to find Prescott after the final whistle to thank him for speaking up about the issue.

"Obviously excited after a big win like that, but for him to just come over there, us embrace that moment," Prescott said. "He was telling me about what him and his mom are doing with their foundation. I'm excited to work with him. We've talked since."

Hurst wasn't the only player to express his support for Prescott. In his own press session with reporters this week, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers – who has also advocated for mental health during his career – applauded Prescott for speaking up about the issue. He also had some choice words for those that might criticize him for it.

"I appreciate those and I respect Aaron -- respect Aaron as much as probably any other quarterback we have in this league," Prescott said. "Obviously, his game but for him to just come out say what he said and loved what he said about people's personal things don't affect any of us, how we feel about ourselves. I think that that's huge."

It was a short press conference, roughly five minutes. That's because Prescott didn't have much time in his schedule before he had to be off to an afternoon meeting. At the end of the day, football still takes center stage.

But in 2020, it's more apparent than ever that there are other issues worth worrying about – and Prescott isn't shying away from talking about them.

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