In a move that is sure to anger President Trump, the NFL’s two-month old national anthem policy is on hold.
As a reminder, back in May the NFL passed a rule that forbid players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. The policy said teams would be fined if players didn’t stand during the anthem while on the field. The league left it up to teams on how to punish players.
However, shortly after The AP reported on Thursday that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week, the league and the players union issued a statement late Thursday night saying the two sides are talking things out. More details from the statement, from the AP:
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.”
“The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice. Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”‘
The issue which has dominated headlines over the past two seasons, and was the catalyst for the eventual downfall of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, has led to division and alienated some fans.
In response to the NFL’s may decision, none of the team policies had been made public until the AP obtained a copy of Miami’s nine-page discipline document. And, as the AP reported earlier, it included a one-sentence section on “Proper Anthem Conduct.” It classifies anthem protests under a large list of “conduct detrimental to the club,” all of which could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine or both.
The Dolphins said in a statement:
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.”
According to the document, Miami can choose not to issue any suspension nor fine any player guilty of “conduct detrimental to the club.” Other violations under that label include drug use or possession, gambling, breaking curfew and riding motorcycles as a driver or passenger from the start of camp until the last game of the season.
Meanwhile, Jets acting owner Christopher Johnson said shortly after the league announced its policy that he will not punish his players for any peaceful protests — and would pay any potential fines incurred by the team as a result of his players’ actions.
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These new league rules were challenged this month in a grievance by the players union. The NFLPA said the NFL policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the players union, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights. Now, the two sides are hoping to reach a solution without litigation.
“Players who are on the field during the Anthem performance must stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” says the 16th and final bullet point on Miami’s list of conduct considered detrimental, below disparaging teammates, coaches or officials including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009 — the year it signed a marketing deal with the military. But in 2016, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to other players and teams.
Critics led by President Donald Trump called the players unpatriotic and even said NFL owners should fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem. Some players countered that their actions were being misconstrued and that they are seeking social change rather than protesting the anthem itself.”
Trump’s criticism led more than 200 players to protest during one weekend, and some kept it up throughout the season.
Kaepernick didn’t play at all last season and still hasn’t been picked up by another team. He threw 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions in his final season in 2016. Safety Eric Reid, one of Kaepernick’s former teammates and another protest leader, is also out of work.
Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.
Top Photo | Buffalo Bills players kneel during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sept. 24, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
The post NFL Freezes Policy Barring Players From Kneeling During Anthem appeared first on MintPress News.
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