Dak Prescott takes his job as Dallas Cowboys quarterback very seriously.
It's arguably the most visible position in all of team sports. With it comes immense on-field scrutiny. Off the field, there's also an immense platform to impact lives in a positive way.
Prescott understands and embraces both.
As he prepares for his fifth NFL training camp, hoping to lead the Cowboys back to the playoffs, Prescott has continued to take an active role toward advancing social justice in the U.S. in the months since George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
In early June, Prescott announced he will pledge $1 million to "improve our police training and address systematic racism through education and advocacy in our country."
"When I pledged to go a million dollars, honestly it could be more, it could be way more," Prescott said Wednesday via conference call. "I just wanted to make a pledge to say that I'm here and I'm here for the people to help create a better culture within our law enforcement so we can gain that trust."
Recently Prescott also wrote a letter to Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board calling for the release of Julius Jones, a Black death row inmate sentenced to death for a 1999 murder in the state.
"I've been blessed with an amazing platform, and a platform obviously to be able to touch and be able to speak and be able to inspire so many different people with my voice," Prescott said. "I think it's important and sometimes I feel obligated to do so."
Players, coaches and staff in other professional sports leagues have shown support for the Black Lives Matter message in various ways since their respective restarts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have kneeled for the national anthem in peaceful protest of social injustice.
Wednesday, Prescott and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones were asked about the subject of standing or kneeling during the anthem this season.
Jones said he's aware that these are very sensitive times in the country, very sensitive matters, and he's listening. His goal is "to have grace when we sit here and look at how we're going to handle it."
"Am I interested in what any player, am I interested in what any of our media, am I interested in what everybody has to say about any issue? You bet," Jones said via conference call. "And I have rabbit ears, I really do. And so having said that, I am listening. The point is, we will do it in a way we think is as sensitive and has as much grace for the genuine feelings of everybody in mind."
Prescott agrees that it's an important time to listen before deciding the best course of action with their platform.
He has had discussions with his teammates about the subject. He hopes whatever the team decides, they can be unified in their message.
"Now that this (season) is here and we have something to look forward to and we have games and we have a chance to go out there and show support to our country of what we're going through and acknowledge that, conversations are heating up," Prescott said. "And we're coming probably close to a point of what we want to do and the way we want to represent one another, the way we want to represent our team and the way we want to represent this country.
"As a football team you want to represent one group. The best part of football is it represents, in a sense, the country – different people from different economic backgrounds, different social backgrounds, different beliefs, religions, color. Any way you think of, the football team is compiled of all kind different places and backgrounds where they come from, but we all come together for one common goal and that's to support each other and to go win.
"I think in anything that we do we want to represent how we can come together and how we can be as one. And that's what this country needs to be right now."