Dolphins could discipline players that protest during national anthem
On Thursday evening, it was announced that the Dolphins have a national anthem policy that could discipline players to a fine and/or suspension up to four games.
The Associated Press broke the blockbuster news Thursday evening that the Miami Dolphins could discipline players who choose to protest during the national anthem. The AP reported that the “Proper Anthem Conduct” policy is just one sentence of a nine-page document that was provided to them by an anonymous source.
In this document, the Dolphins classify the anthem protests under “conduct detrimental to the club.” Under this classification, a player could be fined and/or suspended for up to four games.
The Dolphins issued a statement regarding the policy:
"“The NFL required each team to submit their rules regarding the anthem before their players reported to training camp. We will address this issue once the season starts. All options are still open.”"
The policy comes just a few months after owner Stephen Ross said that he would not force players to stand, even though he believes kneeling is ineffective.
The NFL requirement of teams submitting their rules comes after the league announced in May that teams would be fined if players protest during the national anthem. The league is leaving it up to the teams on how to punish players should they choose to do so. The NFL’s policy allows players to choose to stay in the locker room during the national anthem if they wish not to stand. The NFLPA filed a grievance against this policy earlier this month.
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Discipline schedules from every team must be submitted prior to players reporting to training camp. Jeff Darlington of ESPN Sports reiterated that the Dolphins submitted their discipline schedule ahead of training camp after rookies reported on Wednesday.
All other 31 teams will have to submit their policies and rules on the matter shortly so it will be very interesting to see how teams approach it. Even though the Dolphins organization is making it clear that no disciplinary action is imminent at this time, it’s not great for the team from a PR standpoint to be out ahead like this on the issue.
Last season, Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills took a knee with his hand over his heart for most of the season to protest social injustice issues. Former Dolphins Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas also knelt. Newcomer Robert Quinn did not kneel, but did raise his fist in the air when he was with the Rams. Despite the league’s new policy in place, Stills, who is highly involved in the community, hasn’t ruled out continuing to kneel during the anthem.
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald was one of the first to speak out on the breaking news, even updating the AP’s initial news break with important information in his own article. On his personal Twitter account, Beasley gave his personal take on how he sees the policy playing out.