Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is apologizing for his comments supporting fans who threw trash at NFL referees as they walked off the field at AT&T Stadium following Sunday's game.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old NFL star released a statement on the "mistake," saying it was an emotional, immediate reaction to losing the game.
"I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair," Prescott wrote on Twitter.
"I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs," he continued. "The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter."
"That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry," the post closed.
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At the end of Sunday's wildcard game, when the Cowboys fell 23-17 to the San Francisco 49ers, fans were seen throwing bottles and other items onto the field, some of which hit Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
In a post-game interview, Prescott initially said the fan reaction was "sad" and criticized how his fellow teammates were treated. However, when a reporter pointed out that the referees — who were exiting the field at the time — were the intended targets, the quarterback said, "Credit to them then. Credit to them."
The athlete was soon admonished for his words on social media, as many accused Prescott of encouraging fans to throw trash at referees.
"I have huge problem with this, that's bush league, Dak Prescott," said UNDISPUTED sports analyst Shannon Sharpe. "Officials always run off the field... Why are you encouraging your fanbase to throw trash?
"Yesterday Dak went completely over the edge. That was just so wrong. You're the face of the franchise, you make $75M and you're condoning fan violence? It was stunning to me," echoed sports analyst Skip Bayless.
Chiming in on the conversation, the National Basketball Referees Association criticized Prescott's initial comments and urged the NFL to take steps to prevent such situations from unfolding in the future.
"The NBRA condemns the comments by Dak Prescott condoning violence against game officials," the referee association tweeted Tuesday. "As an NFL leader, he should know better. We encourage the NFL to take action to discourage this deplorable behavior in the future."
Stephen Jones, executive vice president for the Cowboys, also denounced the actions of the fans in the stands, according to ESPN.
"That is just unfortunate," Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan. "That is not the way I see our fans. I think we're a class act. I think there is no place for things like that.
"Understand people being frustrated, but I don't understand throwing things onto the field where people could get injured. There's just no place for that," he stressed.