NFL Freezes Anthem Policy

Move follows backlash against Miami punishment plan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2018 3:17 AM CDT
In this Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 photo, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10), free safety Michael Thomas (31) and defensive back Chris Culliver (29) kneel during the National Anthem before the...   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
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(Newser) – The NFL's two-month old national anthem policy is on hold. Hours after the AP reported 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 joint statement late Thursday night saying the two sides are talking things out. "No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing," the statement read. Miami's discipline document included section on "Proper Anthem Conduct," which classified 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 NFL rule that was passed in May forbid players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during anthem 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. The 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.

(Read more NFL stories.)

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