Dez Bryant has landed himself in a whole lot of hot water that he probably didn't foresee.
While in Oxnard, California, Bryant was asked what he thought about players not standing for the anthem and said, "Whatever they got going on with that, that's them ... I don't really have nothing to say about that."
His response with met with criticism on social media among fans, activists and media, including ESPN's Jemele Hill.
Now Bryant is saying he's baffled over all the criticism.
The Cowboys star receiver told ESPN, "My whole thing about that whole situation, like, people think that I don't care ... that's crazy," Bryant said Thursday.
He said he was not criticizing players who have used the anthem to protest police abuse of minorities or other causes.
"They are free to do what they want," Bryant said. "Hell no, I'm not (criticizing) none of that. Their beliefs are their beliefs. And I'm not saying that it's wrong because they are feeling a certain way. They are supposed to. I'm just saying, I want to lead by example by doing positive. I'm not saying what they are doing is wrong. I just have my ways of going about things."
For reference, here's a few tweets from Bryant and Hill's little exchange:
Before training camp started, Bryant held a barbecue in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas, where more than 1,000 fans showed up. He said he will do more off-field functions during the season as well.
"I feel like, my real response should have been [that] I'm leading by example," Bryant said. "What's happening, being positive toward people, is not meant for everybody to understand. It's never going to be. Everybody is not going to get it. And you've got to be there for the ones who want to get it, who want to understand it, who want positive surrounding them.
"I'm the first to say, my childhood was bad. It was horrible. But I don't live with it on my shoulders. I don't. I try my best to become a better person from it and try to do the exact opposite. That's what I try to show people. That's what I try to show these young kids."