NFL temporarily suspends anthem policy after Miami Dolphins plan harsh penalties for protests
According to the Associated Press, the NFL has suspended its new policy stating that players must stand for the national anthem if they are on the field or be fined. As Black Youth Project recently reported, the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) challenged the NFL on its anthem policy with a grievance suit. In crafting its initial policy, the NFL did not consult the NFLPA, and there has been conflict between the players union and the league since the policy was announced.
The NFLPA has been steadfast in its opposition to the NFL’s rules, releasing a statement in May when the policy first made news: “The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy’. NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.”
In its statement declaring its intent to file a grievance against the league, the NFLPA said, “In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon.”
But this alone did not halt the NFL’s policy, and it was left up to teams to decide how they would respond to players individually. This opened the door for the Miami Dolphins franchise to levy penalties against its players for going against the policy, up to and including suspension of players who violated the league’s policy. Of course, these imposed penalties did not go over smoothly and were roundly criticized by sports journalists and others on social media.
President Trump had called upon NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to kick players out of games for kneeling and upon a second offense suspend them without pay. The Dolphins seem to have the Hobgoblin-in-Chief’s suggestions to heart.
After the backlash, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross issued the below statement seeking to clarify his organization’s stance on the anthem, but the damage had already been done.
Because of these developments, the NFL and the NFLPA have agreed to bring enforcement of these controversial rules to a halt. On Thursday, they issued a joint statement saying: “The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”