HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — Dallas Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn testified Thursday that he doesn’t remember whether he received money from a former college football player charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law nearly a decade ago.
Quinn, who officially becomes an unrestricted free agent next month, testified via video from Texas in the trial of Christopher Hawkins. Hawkins is charged with providing improper benefits to Quinn and two other former Tar Heels football players in 2010.
Prosecutor W. Scott Harkey questioned Quinn regarding a 2013 interview with an investigator from the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office in which Quinn said he received “hand-to-hand cash” from Hawkins, referring to both to a transcript and audio clips played in court. But Quinn responded multiple times that he didn’t remember and wouldn’t commit to whether it was his voice in the audio.
“I’ve blocked out a lot of bad stuff that has happened to me, which this is one of the things,” Quinn said. “So I don’t really remember what had really happened.”
Neither Quinn, a nine-year NFL veteran, nor UNC face legal or punitive actions as a result of the trial. The NCAA declared Quinn permanently ineligible for the 2010 season after launching a probe into improper benefits and academic misconduct that summer within the Tar Heels football program, while the NCAA sanctioned UNC in March 2012 to resolve the case involving Hawkins.
Hawkins was first charged in 2015, with prosecutors adding additional charges last April. The biggest amount involved was $13,700 to Quinn as well as helping him sell game-used equipment for another $1,700.
Testimony began Wednesday, starting with prosecutors calling a cooperating witness from the federal corruption investigation into college basketball.
The state’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act prohibits illegally luring collegiate athletes into contracts by providing them money, gifts or other items of value to entice them to sign contracts. A version of the act is in place in at least 40 states and other jurisdictions, though cases are rarely pursued and difficult to prosecute.
In North Carolina, it’s a low-level felony.
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