The Miami Dolphins may suspend players who protest on the field during the national anthem, The Associated Press reported Thursday, and reaction was swift and varied.
Players could be suspended up to four games under the Dolphins’ “Proper Anthem Conduct” policy, which is part of a nine-page document on team discipline, the AP said. The document, which is not public, was provided to the AP by someone who insisted on anonymity.
It was unclear late Thursday night how soon the Dolphins might implement the policy after the National Football League and the union that represents the players, the NFLPA, issued a joint statement saying they have been working on a resolution to the issue. “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 says.
In May, NFL team owners unanimously approved a policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field. But players have the option of staying in the locker room during the anthem.
On July 10, the players union filed a grievance, saying that imposing the new policy was “inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”
Reaction to the Dolphins’ reported policy ran from full support to complete opposition.
Rashad Robinson, executive director of an online civil rights organization called Color of Change, said the Dolphins’ policy put protesting during the national anthem on the same level as testing positive for drugs or being charged with domestic violence.
“What the Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross are doing is making a real claim that the injustices that people are speaking out against don’t matter,” Robinson said, according to the AP.
Others took to Twitter to express dismay.
But others supported the team and its policy.