Ever since the start of the NFL player protests during the national anthem in 2016, defensive end Robert Quinn has participated in them. The player has continued to do so, from his time with the Los Angeles Rams until he moved to the Miami Dolphins last offseason. During each game’s anthem, Quinn has traditionally raised a single fist.
Now, Quinn has been traded to the Dallas Cowboys, a team which has long had a zero-tolerance policy about the anthem protests. According to Pro Football Talk, this has the potential to cause friction.
The Cowboys acquired Quinn earlier this week in exchange for a 2020 draft pick.
“When you’re wearing the Dallas Cowboy uniform and a Dallas Cowboy helmet and you’re working for the Dallas Cowboys, you check the ‘I’ and the ‘me’ at the door and you’re a part of a team,” Stephen Jones, the Cowboys CEO and son of owner Jerry Jones, said in an interview last year.
In addition, Jones also implied that any player who participated in anthem protests would be cut by the team.
Quinn, meanwhile, has always claimed that he will continue to raise his fist during the anthem, with a photo of him making the gesture appearing in a Sports Illustrated feature last year.
“I won’t stop until they get rid of me,” Quinn told the magazine. “That’s going to be the only way to silence me.”
It doesn’t appear, though, that Quinn was traded to the Cowboys against his will. The player was given permission to visit the Cowboys, even though he was still under contract with Miami at the time; he also visited New Orleans before the deal. After the trade, Quinn agreed to a new one-year, $11.8 million contract with Dallas.
Neither side has addressed the anthem issue since the trade. In a video posted to the Cowboys‘ website, Stephen Jones expressed happiness about the deal and the effect Quinn might have on the team’s pass rush, which was a notable team weakness last season. The team’s defensive line is in flux, with Randy Gregory suspended and the club at a reported contract impasse with DeMarcus Lawrence.
While the Cowboys, as an organization, are opposed to the protests during the anthem, Jerry Jones did join Cowboys players in locking arms and kneeling before a Monday night game in September of 2017, shortly after President Trump ripped NFL players who had participated in the protests as “sons of b**ches.”