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Dak Prescott on controversial 1957 Jerry Jones photo: ‘I believe in grace and change’

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, left, looks on and smiles as team owner Jerry Jones speaks during a news conference.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, left, and team owner Jerry Jones attend a news conference on March 10, 2021, in Frisco, Texas.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)
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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he stands for “growth and giving grace” when asked Thursday about a 1957 photo that showed team owner Jerry Jones among a group of white students blocking a group of Black students from entering their school.

“Obviously we can be more empathetic and give grace to one another, regardless of race,” Prescott told reporters. “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 a guy who is completely biracial, Black and white, it’s easy for me to speak on race on one side or another.”

Prescott acknowledged that he hadn’t fully processed the situation but suggested that Jones, 80, had grown as a person since the incident and does deserve grace.

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“It’s 65 years ago and how times have changed,” Prescott said. “I mean, look at the man’s resume since then, right? And as I said, I give grace.”

The photo resurfaced last week in the Washington Post. Jones confirmed to the Post that it was him in the photo standing near the back of the crowd of white male students at North Little Rock High School in Arkansas on Sept. 9, 1957. The group was attempting to stop Black students from desegregating their school and succeeded in blocking their entrance.

White students at Arkansas' North Little Rock High School block the doors of the school, denying access to six Black students
(William P. Straeter / Associated Press)

Jones has characterized his role in the incident as that of a curious observer.

“That was, gosh, 65 years ago, and curious kid, I didn’t know at the time the monumental event that was going on,” Jones told reporters last week. “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 kinds of things happen.”

When speaking to the Post about the segregated society in which he lived as a child, Jones said: “I’ve often asked: ‘Why didn’t you do more? Why didn’t you get up and have them come up on the bus and sit rather than standing back there? Why didn’t you do more?’ ”

LeBron James brought the Jones photo back into the national spotlight during his news conference following the Lakers’ 123-109 win over Portland on Wednesday night.

LeBron James has questions about the disparity of media scrutiny he believes is being applied to a 1957 photo of Jerry Jones and the recent controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving.

“I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, someone with power and with a platform, when we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage. It’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day,” James said.

“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, the photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it. It seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK. We just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”

James said he was asked by reporters about Kyrie Irving after his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate posted a link to an antisemitic movie last month. At that time, James condemned hate speech of any kind, expressed his “love” for Irving and acknowledged the Brooklyn Nets guard had “caused some harm to a lot of people.”

Lakers star LeBron James said Kyrie Irving ‘caused some harm to a lot of people’ by promoting an antisemitic film and declining to rebuke antisemitism.

James told reporters Wednesday, “I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys” regarding Jones.

Prescott touched on the same topic while answering reporters’ questions about the Jones photo the next day.

“I think that’s a conversation and question not only for [Jones] but for you guys and how you all feel and how accountable you all have been in covering and discussing the disparities and differences in race.

“So, yeah, 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. And, yeah, unfortunate things come up from the past, pictures, and they show how far we’ve come, but in the same sense, they’re a reminder of how short of a time that was ago in the same sense. That wasn’t that long ago that we were all sitting on different sides, and that 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 and for you all, honestly, that I don’t have quite the answers for.”


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