Hours after release of a Miami Dolphins team policy on player protests during the National Anthem, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to take a knee as they continue talks.
After another media firestorm erupted Thursday following the release of a Miami Dolphins team policy on protests by players during the National Anthem, the NFL and the NFL Players Association jointly announced a suspension of their differences in order to continue talks.
The NFLPA and the NFL came to a “standstill agreement” Thursday evening, with the league halting issuance or enforcement of any new rules related to the anthem.
The NFLPA, meanwhile, will halt its pursuit of its grievance against the league over the policy enacted in May that granted the right for each of the 32 teams to set their own policies regarding the anthem and ordered players and other personnel on the sidelines to stand during its playing.
The NFLPA released the joint statement, followed shortly thereafter by Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president for public relations.
The Dolphins issued its “Proper Anthem Conduct” policy this week, calling for players to be suspended for up to four games under a long list of “conduct detrimental to the club” caveats, per ESPN.com.
As a comparison, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended last month by the NFL for three games under its personal conduct policy related to an incident in March 2016.
Winston’s suspension stemmed from allegations the quarterback groped an Uber driver while partying with friends in Scottsdale, Ariz. While the driver never filed criminal charges against Winston, she reported the incident to Uber, which responded by deactivating Winston’s account.
The story went public last fall when the driver told her story to BuzzFeed News. It was at that point the NFL launched an investigation.
The national anthem policy has haunted the NFL for nearly a year, ever since President Donald Trump critiziced NFL players for kneeling during a September speech in Alabama.
Players responded with widespread kneeling protests two days later and some protests continued throughout the 2017 season.
The movement began during the 2016 preseason after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to protest a need for nationwide debate on police brutality and racial injustice.
It is worth noting that Kaepernick has not been signed to an NFL contract since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017. Kaepernick filed a grievance in October accusing NFL owners of colluding to keep him sidelined.
The NFL has been both widely praised and criticized for enacting its policy in May, while Trump has sporadically continued his anti-NFL rhetoric since. It is a highly divisive issue in which opposing sides can’t even agree on what is being protested, much less the way it should be done.