Dan Quinn talked to the media today, headlined by the news that he has grown a full Santa beard. It was thick, illustrious, and surprisingly a shade of gray. It brings up a lot of other questions. Is this a pandemic beard? Will he resist the urge to shave it during the heat of training camp? Does it itch? Can I get Quinn some beard oil and maybe a brush?
Quinn has been very visible regarding the ongoing nationwide surrounding systemic racism in the United States, even joining a march along with a few players just last week. Quinn has made some vague yet supportive statements, which is expected as he is widely known as a player’s coach.
So it is not surprising that Quinn and his beard came out in support of players if they decide to protest.
#Falcons head coach Dan Quinn asked about protests during the season, possible kneeling. Quinn did not directly mention kneeling, but said whatever players decide to do, then:— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) June 15, 2020
"Hell yeah I'll support them." pic.twitter.com/w1EP5yMfoz
In a change from past years, this is untempered support for any actions his players feel they must take.
Colin Kaepernick was blackballed by the NFL for his silent protest according to a former NFL executive, however, that failed to snuff out the increasingly politicized protest. In fact, Falcons players Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe knelt before a 2017 game, with many other players around the league silently voicing their disapproval of the current state of society. Despite some fans threatening to stop watching the NFL forever, any drop in viewership did not last long as the NFL has seen continued growth in TV ratings.
Quinn appears fully willing to put the Brotherhood first and support his players if they feel the need to protest. It is unclear if any players will decide to kneel, or if Quinn has other plans to show unity, but hopefully the result is better than the cringey Jerry Jones kneel.
With Matt Ryan still running the GoFundMe and posting his thoughts about the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, along with some social media posts from other players, these underlying issues are certain to still be a focus of players once the 2020 season starts.