By virtually any metric, the Miami Dolphins are irrelevant.
The team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000. They haven’t made it to the AFC championship game since 1992. They have a wide receiver masquerading as their franchise quarterback. They have had exactly two winning seasons in the last decade. They last won a Super Bowl in the 1973 season.
There’s a reason they celebrated like they won the Super Bowl after the “Miami Miracle” merely delayed the New England Patriots’ 10th straight AFC East title in Week 14. It’s all that an irrelevant team would have to latch onto.
Given all of that, the Dolphins have found something else to be known for in recent seasons: national anthem protests.
Miami had the first two anthem kneelers of 2018 in receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson. Joining them was defensive end Robert Quinn, who chose to raise a fist during the anthem in protest.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 9, 2018
It’s never been abundantly clear what anthem protesters are arguing against. One week, you might surmise that it has to do with police brutality. Another week, it feels like they’re protesting Donald Trump. A week later, it seems like they’re protesting racism.
One thing that is abundantly clear to many Americans is that regardless of what they’re protesting, making a demonstration during the national anthem is neither the time nor place to do so. Many find it the ultimate disrespect for everything the American flag stands for, including the brave men and women who protect it.
To be perfectly clear, every American has the right to peaceably protest. But time and place matter. You can’t play the victim when your actions are viewed as inflammatory because they take place during the anthem.
You especially shouldn’t claim to be the victim when so much of the media coverage surrounding anthem protests is positive. It’s rare to see any criticism of the demonstrations in the establishment media.
Yet that’s what so many NFL players did last season, claiming the media had hijacked the narrative and twisted it to boost ratings.
Now, with NFL anthem protests largely dying down, protesters are still upset with the media, albeit for a different reason.
According to the Miami Herald, Quinn voiced his displeasure with reporters that the media weren’t covering the anthem protests enough.
“Y’all ignore it,” Quinn told the reporters about his raised fist, which he’s done before every game this season and in the previous two seasons when he was with the Los Angeles Rams. “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.”
Quinn then veered bizarrely off-topic by bringing up Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman who has been sentenced to life in prison for a murder she committed when she was 16. Her supporters have claimed that because of her age and the circumstances of her situation, she should’ve been afforded a more lenient sentence.
“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,” Quinn said. ” But yet you guys dipped.”
For an anthem protester to be upset about the type of coverage the protests were getting and then become upset about the lack of coverage speaks volumes. How can you interpret this as anything other than a cry for attention?
If the action itself is as meaningful as protesters claim it to be, shouldn’t that be enough? What does media coverage have to do with whatever societal injustice they’re allegedly fighting?
Quinn tried to paint his anthem protests as some noble endeavor in a Sports Illustrated piece in August.
“People still think I’m disrespecting the flag. Not just me — everyone who protests. If you’re not African-American, I don’t expect you to relate to it,” Quinn said. “My ancestors were brought here (on slave) ships, treated like a fraction of a human, under a flag that was created out of wiping out Native Americans. Today that flag tells Muslims and Mexicans, We don’t want you here. We’re supposed to be America — equal opportunity, equal people — but you look around and it’s not like that.”
So if he’s protesting the anthem to fight against this rampant racism, shouldn’t his actions alone be enough? Is he protesting to get media coverage or to send a message?
This is now the third year of the anthem protests. It’s a minor miracle that the protests have stayed in the news as long as they have in this 24-hour, social media-driven news cycle.
Apparently, that’s not enough for Quinn. He craves more attention.
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