Dan Quinn, Atlanta coaches talk race with high school students

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Dan Quinn has spent plenty of time in recent weeks talking to his players about the intersection of race and sports, and he expanded that conversation to younger athletes in Atlanta.

Via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons coach was part of a panel discussion for local high school athletes called “Coaches Uncensored: A Conversation On Race and Sports.” He was joined by Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and Atlanta Dream coach Nicki Collen, along with a group of players.

“I’m hopeful that we do this again because this is going to be the age group that is going to take the baton,” Quinn said. “That’s where I’m hopeful that we’ll see momentum and progress to keep going, that we never back off of these topics.

“There were hundreds of people on the call. We started by talking about what would be the right approach for a high school athlete who wanted to protest and show their support for a movement. It was nice to hear ideas and suggestions and what it could look like moving forward. We talked about Juneteenth. We talked about marching along the players. I talked about how diversity has brought me a lot of energy. Then they asked about commissioner [Roger] Goodell’s and the players’ responses to that. I thought tonight was good, man.”

Pierce, who is black, organized the event. He said having a diverse group of coaching helped underscore the message.

“I thought it was great,” Pierce said. “I thought the players were tremendous. I think it’s just something as we’re trying to address the issues, the systemic issues, the racial issues, the law enforcement — just everything that we’re seeing in our country — I think it’s great to just show people that there’s different ways in engaging in conversation.”

With the entire NFL taking the day off to celebrate Juneteenth, there will be more opportunities for such conversations in more cities.