Troy Aikman counters backlash to Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s national anthem comments

ARLINGTON — Troy Aikman wasn’t answering questions about the national anthem, protests and racial injustice while quarterbacking Cowboys Super Bowl teams in the ’90s.

But in today’s NFL, Dak Prescott doesn’t have the luxury of avoiding the political topics.

The issues resurfaced at training camp after Jerry Jones said he expects all Cowboys standing, “toe on the line.”

It’s neither an easy debate nor one going away any time soon, Aikman said Thursday from the opening of his restaurant Troy’s at Texas Live.

“As far as how you resolve this anthem issue, people a lot smarter than me have not been able to figure that out,” said Aikman, Fox’s lead NFL color analyst. “I don’t know, I’m not sure we’ve gotten closer than we got a year ago.”

The league and players association discussed anthem policies this offseason but came to no conclusion. On Thursday night, all Cowboys players stood during the anthem before the preseason game in San Francisco.

Prescott said recently he’ll always stand for the anthem but respects those who protest during that time.

“I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so,” Prescott said, adding he’s “all about making a change” but prefers “taking a next step, whatever that step may be for action and not just kneeling.

Prescott received ample backlash for his comments across social media and talk shows, plus a mural in Dallas’ Trinity Groves portraying him as hypnotized.

Aikman, however, lauded how Prescott has handled discussions.

“Everyone has their opinion and is certainly entitled to what they feel is best for them — what the flag means to them and what social injustice means to them and how exactly do you protest,” Aikman said. “Dak came out with his opinion and just like all of the others who have had their opinions, I think it’s good. I think it’s good to share those so maybe we can reach something that makes sense to everyone and get all this figured out.”

The anthem isn’t the only conversation Aikman praised Prescott for handling correctly.

The Hall of Famer said Prescott’s leadership chops need no boost in the wake of Jason Witten’s departure. Prescott assumed the leadership role he needed to as early as his rookie season, Aikman said.

“Is there a void? Does he have to do more? I don’t think he has to do more,” Aikman said. “His play his rookie year was spectacular, but you heard more from people within that organization and teammates who spoke about his leadership and teammates simply saying they loved playing with him.

“I think that speaks volumes to his leadership already. And that’s the last thing I would be concerned about with Dak and I don’t think he needs to do anything differently than what he’s done his first two seasons.”

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