Robert Quinn might be the new torch-bearer

Late last week Robert Quinn was acquired by the Dallas Cowboys from the Miami Dolphins. The trade may indicate some progress by NFL owners on players’ speech. Robert Quinn has been raising his fist during the national anthem since 2016, and after being traded to the Dolphins last year, Quinn told Michael McKnight of SI that he “won’t stop until they get rid of me” and “that’s going to be the only way to silence me.”

Miami Dolphins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8/9/2018

Image via David Santiago

The Cowboys have a clear policy that requires their players to stand for the anthem. That policy though, is silent on other forms of speech, such as Quinn’s fist-raising. The Cowboys have not released a statement regarding Quinn’s prior acts.   It could still be an issue for the team and Quinn, even if he took a pay cut to facilitate the trade. The Cowboys changed their policy to prohibit any form of protest during the anthem, which may result in Quinn being fined or released.

While there are obviously football reasons for the trade, the move could also be seen as showing progress for the owners. If the Cowboys, well-known for being anthem sticklers, are willing to acquire a player known for protesting, maybe the Kaepernick and Reid settlement did more than people think.

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