Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott issued an apology on Tuesday for his comments after his team's NFC Wild Card Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, in which he praised supporters for throwing debris at referees.
"I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday," Prescott tweeted. "I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.
"I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs.
"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."
Fans were spotted throwing rubbish in the direction of players and officials exiting the field after the Cowboys' 23-17 loss, in which time expired with Prescott and the Cowboys offence unable to get off a snap and probably spike the ball.
Prescott stated at the postgame press conference that it was "sad" to see that players would be subjected to such behaviour. When a reporter followed up by remarking that the debris appeared to be aimed at the referees rather than the players, Prescott answered, "They deserve credit for that. They deserve credit."
While Prescott issued an apology on Tuesday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones spoke out against the fans' conduct on 105.3 The Fan on Monday.
According to The Athletic, Jones said, "That's just unfortunate." "That is not how I perceive our supporters. We're a class act, in my opinion. That has no place in this world."
The Cowboys won the NFC East and went 12-5 in 2021, earning the franchise's first postseason berth since 2018.
With 14 seconds remained in the game, Prescott ran a draw play to the 49ers' 24-yard line, bringing the game and Dallas' season to a close. As both teams rushed to the line of scrimmage, umpire Ramon George ran up to spot the ball and collided with Prescott before putting the ball down. The game clock ran out before Prescott could throw a pass.
"We've practiced it," Prescott said after the game. "You hand it to the center. The umpire, all he has to do is usually come in and tap the ball. Don't necessarily know exactly … why the hit (with the official) happened, I guess. Yeah, I know he's going to come in and touch the ball. We could say, yeah he needs to be closer to the ball or whatever, but in hindsight it's just tough. Just tough to accept."