‘We’ve got to be better.’ Uvalde school tragedy touches Dallas Cowboys coaches, players

·4 min read
Laurence Kesterson/AP

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott wonders if he should even have kids.

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence worries about his kids going to school and what he can do to make things safer.

Coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t even get through a statement before breaking down in tears.

Tuesday’s tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, which killed 19 students and two adults in addition to the shooter, has touched us all.

And it’s no surprise that it was personal in the Cowboys’ locker room.

“Heavy heart. I mean it’s mind-boggling,” McCarthy said before breaking down. “I don’t like talking about these things because it’s hard not to think as a parent. We’ve been talking about it a lot. We’ve got to be better. The responsibilities we have as a community, as parents — to see this go on in today’s world, I find it troubling.

“There has to be a better way. We know there’s a better way. And we need to do the things to make it better. To not protect the future of our community is tragic. It makes me sick like I’m sure it does everybody.”

McCarthy apologized for crying but as the father of two young girls, including a fourth-grader, he said he can’t fathom something like that happening.

“We’re so much better than that,” McCarthy added before pausing and tearing up again. So … I’m sorry.”

Prescott has been trying to do something.

The tragedy came one day before his Faith Fight Finish Foundation hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday evening at Texas Live in Arlington with the goal of bringing together youth, community groups, law enforcement leaders, education leaders, and mental health experts to facilitate a conversation on how to work together for a better North Texas.

He said the Uvalde shooting, as well as the recent tragedies in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California, are calls “for each and every one of us for help, for our neighborhood and what’s going on with them individually and how we’re protecting, policing and serving one another throughout our community.”

“These conversations that obviously were lacking. I think over the past 32 hours shows you that,” Prescott said. “Just the lack of conversation and understanding and empathy we’re having for one another as humans. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think too many times we run from conflict. I mean that by the questions and conversations. Something has to be done and a change has to happen now.

“I’m blessed to be able to start a conversation shortly after this has happened. I’m sure things of that nature will be brought up. They will cause uncomfortable conversations, but I know so much growth and so much positive can come from them in the negative world we’re living in.”

Prescott is single and doesn’t have children. But he said these tragic events impact everyone.

“We’re talking about children,” he said. “We’re talking about the future. I mean, I don’t have kids and can’t imagine having to send my kid to school with that anxiety. Honestly, it makes me fearful to have children, and that’s not right. That’s sad.”

Lawrence has kids and said he finds himself coming off the practice field calling his wife asking about them and whether they made it home from school yet.

“It’s very hard. It’s nerve-wrecking,” Lawrence said. “It’s something you wouldn’t expect. But this is what we are dealing with ... it’s hard to speak on an incident like this. I feel like this is something that has been happening for weeks on and weeks on. And now it’s an elementary school and turn on the TV and act like something is different. This is a continuous thing that is going on.

“I feel like our culture is getting targeted. I feel like like we are sitting back and looking on the outside and saying it’s not my family and it has nothing to do with me. And deep down it hurts. I wish I had some ways of change.”

Lawrence said he is focused on trying to put a system in place to fix things.

“I have kids that go to school too,” he said. “Their safety is all I care about. If I don’t feel safe sending my kids to school and I know other parents feel the same way. First and foremost, I am going to try to take care of the school situation and make sure it’s a safer place for our kids and family to go and teachers, too.”

McCarthy, Prescott and Lawrence had no definitive answers to solve the problem.

But they all agreed that it’s going to take everyone together to make our world and our schools a better place.

“I think we can get it done,” Lawrence said. “It’s going to take a collective effort. It can’t just be one group trying to handle things. This is all of us. All of us are going to have to step in. Make sure we are building a safer work space, safer environment for us to grow in.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting