When Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant announced last week that his team would no longer protest during the national anthem for the remainder of the year, it might have caught some observers by surprise, but anyone who’d followed Bryant’s public statements recently would understand completely.
In a series of Instagram posts published in April, Bryant shared his belief that adults should take accountability for their individual actions and start leading by example instead of wasting time complaining about things beyond their control — and implictly made clear that histrionic protests like the ones plaguing the NFL this season aren’t leading by example at all.
“Instead of making videos about the history of racism that get applause or people with influence merely doing things to post for social media, we should focus on individual accountability to be better as a whole,” he wrote.
He then cited the example of a guy he grew up with who wasted his adulthood dealing drugs.
“While we were catching up, he shared with me that he wished that he chose a different and better path,” Bryant wrote. “He said seeing my success was inspiring and that it encouraged him to do better with his life.”
Bryant’s quiet activism — inspiring others by living a righteous life and exuding quality values — is the type that counts, not protesting on a sideline or complaining on a left-wing TV network.