New Cowboys Starter Addresses Potential National Anthem Protest

Robert Quinn

Getty Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn will make his Dallas Cowboys debut Sunday, taking on the same Miami Dolphins organization that dumped him this offseason — the organization that also allowed Quinn the freedom to raise his fist.

Inspired by Colin Kaepernick, who ignited a league-wide movement against social and racial injustice, the veteran defensive end joined the protest in Miami in 2018, putting his arm up or kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of solidarity.

That flew with the small-market Fish. But it doesn’t appear it will with America’s Team.

Quinn didn’t do anything out of the ordinary this preseason, standing for the Star-Spangled Banner,” but he wouldn’t guarantee the status quo. Addressing reporters on Wednesday, the two-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher accused the media of twisting his demonstration when asked if it’ll continue in North Texas.

“Why did the protest start? Then what did you all turn it into? I’m asking you. (to a reporter). Protest started because … and what did you all media turn into? You’re media, right?” he responded, rheotorically, via the Dallas Morning News.

He added: “You all took the message and made it into what you all wanted to make it. Now, I could sit there and beat this over the head, beat this over the head. Again, I’m not going back writing the story. At the end of the day, y’all know what’s being done.”

While the constitution protects Quinn’s freedom of speech, there’s nothing in his Cowboys contract that shields him from Jerry Jones’ wrath. And wrath would likely follow. Remember: Jones made headlines amid Kaepernick’s protest by claiming he’d bench copy-cat offenders, and he backed the NFL’s short-lived 2018 anthem policy.

“I obviously wouldn’t dare speak for any of the other owners, much less in general about 31 other owners,” Jones said last year, per the Associated Press. “As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, you know where I stand. Our team knows where I stand on the issue.”

Returning from a two-game suspension and offseason hand surgery, Quinn is expected to start at DE against the Dolphins, replacing the injured Tyrone Crawford (hip).

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Quinn Talks Dolphins ‘Reunion’

In an ironic twist, Quinn’s first action this season will come at the expense of his former employer, the transparently tanking ‘Fins (0-2) who dumped him on Dallas (2-0) at the cost of a 2020 sixth-round draft pick.

As far as his on-field contributions are concerned, the 29-year-old is simply trying to get in where he fits in — storylines be damned.

”Just get a ‘dub’ for the team,” Quinn said, via the Associated Press. “I realize, don’t try to make things more than what it is. Me just coming back, the team’s been doing well. I’m just coming back, trying to contribute as best as I could and not try to let this team down in any way, shape or form. I don’t want to overwork myself, overhype myself.”

Quinn Practices, Sans Glove

He didn’t do much Wednesday in his first regular season practice, but Quinn was spotted without a glove or brace on his hand. He went through several conditioning and individual drills, attempting to shake the rust off before Sunday. Quinn wasn’t listed on the injury report and will be all systems go at AT&T Stadium.

“He’s clearly in shape and ready to go,” head coach Jason Garrett said Thursday. “It didn’t seem like he had any issues practicing. He handling the conditioning part of it well. It seemed like his hand, he handled that well. Wasn’t an issue.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL