The interview was supposed to be positive.
The planned questions were almost exclusively softballs.
Then Robert Quinn, who has a sack in each of the past four games, arrived.
And everything changed.
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The Dolphins’ leading sacker was in no mood to talk football.
He wasn’t in the mood to talk about most anything with this Miami Herald reporter.
He was miffed.
Not about anything that was written about him.
But about what was not written: Coverage of his raised-fist protest during the national anthem, which he’s done every week as a member of the Dolphins.
“Y’all ignore it,” Quinn said. “Because when I gave my first message on trying to bring unity, y’all swept it under the rug. It’s not me. When you don’t give a problematic story, y’all just ran away. ....
“You’ve got this lady named Cyntoia Brown, or whatever her name is, and you sent her to life in prison because she was being sex trafficked. But yet you guys dipped.”
(Brown is a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder she committed at age 16. Appeals for leniency due to her age and circumstances have been rebuffed).
In fairness, Quinn is a hard man to find in the locker room. He often is gone before reporters get in.
But he has a point:
Other than a Sports Illustrated profile in August, not much has been written about Quinn and his protest against racial injustice.
The Herald wrote about it in April, when he spoke on a conference call with reporters after the Dolphins traded for him.
Here’s why Quinn protests, he said then:
“The way America was built, and the way people talk .... The president said to build a wall to keep Mexicans out. This country was built off of — they killed Indians, built off the backs of the blacks. So yet, they tell us to keep quiet. So at the end of the day, let’s confront the situation and let’s bring humanity and friendship and let’s get rid of all the ignorance. Let’s face it head-on, let’s look at each other as humans. I always live by this one law: Treat each other like you want to be treated. You don’t ever want to smack someone in the face and don’t expect to get smacked back. It’s just that simple fact. Don’t treat someone bad and expect not to be treated the same way. That’s just how it is.”
After that, reporters almost exclusively sought out Kenny Stills for comment on the movement. A crucial difference is Stills kneels, which is radioactive to many fans, while Quinn’s raised-fist does not elicit the same reaction.
When reminded that Stills is asked about his activism on a regular basis, Quinn responded:
“Man, I don’t have nothing to do with Kenny. That ain’t got nothing to do with me. All I’m saying is, my production went up because I’m just playing football and America’s got a lot of problems to fix within itself. Tell America to look itself in the mirror and the people who built it.”