A number of athletes have issued statements over the last week in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, while three other officers watched. Some have even organized protests in various cities around the country, as the movement against police brutality and racial injustice has spread globally, with demonstrations this week in all 50 states and in major cities around the world.
On Wednesday, Dak Prescott joined the legion of stars from across the sports world to issue a statement condemning the systemic racism that leads to the disproportionate targeting and killing of black people by police, and pledged to donate $1 million to “improve our police training and address systemic racism through education and advocacy in our country.”
Prescott’s pledge received mixed reviews, as some questioned whether the right approach right now is to give money to police departments in expectation that it would actually lead to more effective training, and it would be on Prescott to ensure that pledge is going to the right organizations. Prescott addressed one of the chief issues at hand, which is that a “good cop” who doesn’t speak out or stand up to confront officers who abuse their power is, in fact, not good.
“When you choose to wear the badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT a life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations. How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your ranks don’t abide by it? You need to hold your own accountable! Each of you are as guilty as the men who stood beside Derek Chauvin if you do not stand up against the systemic racism plaguing our police forces nationwide. TAKE ACTION!
“As long as cops continue to profile blacks as a threat, cops will continue to be perceived as untrustworthy. You have to CHANGE YOURSELF before you can ask anyone else to Change!”
After a number of statements from brands, teams, and even players tiptoed around that issue, Prescott addressed the problems of systemic racism that are deeply seeded in police forces around the country. Hopefully Prescott’s statement and donation can cause others to speak up about these issues and lead to actionable change in police departments, and if nothing else, keep the focus of the conversation on the real issue at hand, which is racist actions carried out by those supposedly sworn to protect and serve.