Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has pledged to donate $1 million to improving policing and addressing systemic racism in the United States through education and advocacy.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Prescott says he is “disgusted and unsettled” and that he stands with those protesting racial injustice throughout the U.S. in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd last week.
“As our communities take action, protesting and fighting for the justice of George Floyd and every Black life, I am with you!” Prescott wrote. “I have viewed these protests and riots in our streets as a form of strength and an attempt to show we as Black people have rights that aren’t being perceived equally as our counterparts.”
In the post, Prescott reflects on his personal struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which his brother, Jace, died unexpectedly on April 24. Prescott says his brother’s sudden death, and the passing of his mother in 2013, have helped him realize the importance of his voice in times like these.
“I have personally struggled, along with our country, since the Coronavirus pandemic began,” says Prescott. “Anxiety became something I had to understand and battle with as I search to find a purpose without the game of football around. I wanted to help, make a change, be a part of something that fixed the pandemic. During that search, I lost an idol, my brother. He and I share the same mission: Find a bigger purpose!
“As I process the passing of my brother, I have come to realize we are not given a voice to pronounce how much we matter. It is our obligation to tell our neighbour how much they matter to us and take a stand for the greater good of each other.”
Prescott joins many athletes from across the sports world who are speaking out and taking action after Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, was killed on May 25 after being pinned to the ground beneath the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd’s death has led to widespread protesting of systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S., and some demonstrations have resulted in clashes with authorities, violence and vandalism erupting in the streets of some American cities. More than 9,000 arrests have been made across the U.S. as of Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
In his Instagram post, Prescott says he is against looting and violence, and that “we must commit to hold ourselves in our communities accountable.” He challenges police to do the same.
“I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving your communities. When you choose to wear the badge of a police officer, you pledged to protect life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations. How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your own ranks don’t abide by it?
“You need to hold your own accountable. Each of you are as guilty as the men who stood behind Derek Chauvin if you do not stand up against the systematic racism plaguing our police forces nationwide. Take action!”