Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he represented “growth and grace” when asked Thursday for a photo from 1957 that showed team owner Jerry Jones amid a group of white students preventing a group of black students from to enter their school.
“Obviously we can be more empathetic and show grace to one another regardless of race,” Prescott told reporters. “From the time we came from to now when we think about the growth we’ve had. So, I think I’m optimistic. I mean, a guy who’s totally multiracial, black and white, it’s easy for me to talk about race on one side or the other.
Prescott admitted he hadn’t fully processed the situation but suggested Jones, 80, had grown as a person since the incident and deserved clemency.
“That was 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 mercy.”
The photo resurfaced in the Washington Post last week. Jones confirmed to the Post that it was him in the Sept. 9, 1957 photo of himself standing near the crowd of white male students at North Little Rock High School in Arkansas. The group attempted to prevent black students from rescinding their school and succeeded in blocking their entry.
Jones has characterized his role in the incident as that of a curious observer.
“That was, my goodness, 65 years ago, and curious boy, I didn’t know at the time what a monumental event was going on,” Jones told reporters last week. “I’m glad we’re a long way from that. I am. That would remind me: just keep doing whatever we can to keep things like this from happening.”
Speaking to the Post about the segregated society he lived in as a kid, Jones said, “I’ve often asked, ‘Why didn’t you do more? Why didn’t you get up and let her get on the bus and sit down instead of standing in the back? Why didn’t you do more?’ ”
LeBron James brought the Jones photo back into the national spotlight during his press conference following the Lakers’ 123-109 win over Portland on Wednesday night.
“I feel like as a black man, as a black athlete, someone with power and with a platform, if we’re doing something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single piece of coverage. It’s in the ticker below. It’s asked about every day,” James said.
“But it seems to me that the whole situation with Jerry Jones, the photo, and I know it’s been years and years, and we all make mistakes, I understand. It seems like it just got buried, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK. We just keep going.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I didn’t get that question from you guys.”
James said he was asked about Kyrie Irving by reporters after his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate posted a link to an anti-Semitic film last month. At the time, James condemned hate speech of any kind, expressed his “love” for Irving, and acknowledged that the Brooklyn Nets security guard had “harmed a lot of people.”
James told reporters on Wednesday, “I was just kind of disappointed that I didn’t get that question from you guys,” in reference to Jones.
Prescott touched on the same subject when answering reporters’ questions about the Jones photo the next day.
“I think this is a conversation and a question not just for [Jones] but for you and how you all feel and how responsible you all have been to address and discuss the inequalities and differences in race.
“So yes, like I said, I’m here to grow and give grace and try to make this world a better place. This is who I am at my core and what I believe in. And, yes, unfortunate things come from the past, pictures, and they show how far we’ve come, but in the same vein, they’re a reminder of how just before a time that was in the same vein. It wasn’t that long ago that we were all on different sides and that we weren’t together. But like I said, I wouldn’t be here if it were still like this. So I believe in grace and change. Those are questions for Jerry and for all of you, frankly, that I don’t have the right answers for.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-12-02/jerry-jones-desegregation-1957-cowboys-dak-prescott-lebron-james-kyrie-irving Dak Prescott, LeBron James comment on 1957 Jerry Jones photo