Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for his comments on Sunday in which he praised fans for throwing debris at officials after his team’s NFC Wild Card Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
“I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after Sunday’s game,” Prescott tweeted. “I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were unjustified and unfair.
“I hold NFL officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their work.
“The safety of anyone attending a match or participating on the grounds of a sporting event is a very serious matter.
“It was a mistake on my part, and I’m sorry.”
Following the conclusion of the Cowboys 23-17 loss in which time expired with Prescott and the Cowboys offense unable to fire up and presumably steal the ball, fans could be seen throwing trash in the direction of the players and officials leaving the field.
At the post-match press conference, Prescott initially said he was “sad” to see the players being subjected to this treatment. When a member of the media followed up saying it was believed the debris was directed at the officials, not the players, Prescott replied, “Thanks to them then. Thanks to them.”
While Prescott’s apology arrived on Tuesday, Cowboys executive vice-president Stephen Jones denounced the actions of fans on Monday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Jones said, by The Athletic. “That’s not how I see our fans. I think we’re a class act. There’s just no room for that.”
The Cowboys won the NFC East title and finished the 2021 season at 12-5 with the franchise’s first playoff spot since 2018.
The final streak of Sunday’s game and Dallas’ season saw Prescott, with 14 seconds left, run a draw on the 49ers 24-yard line. As both teams raced to the line of scrimmage, referee Ramon George was also running to spot the ball and ran into Prescott before setting the ball up. Time ran out on the game clock before Prescott could take a shot.
“We practiced,” Prescott said after the game. “You give it to the centre. The referee, all he usually has to do is come in and kick the ball. I don’t necessarily know exactly…why the hit (with the official) happened , I guess. Yeah, I know he’s gonna come in and touch the ball. We could say, yeah, he needs to be closer to the ball or whatever, but looking back, it’s just difficult. Just difficult to accept.