NFL, NFLPA Decide to Freeze Anthem Policy Enacted in May

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question from a reporter during a news conference at the NFL owners meetings, Wednesday, March 28, 2018 in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images for NFL)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The NFL and the NFL Players Association issued a joint statement Thursday night announcing the two sides have reached a "standstill agreement" that will temporarily freeze the league's new national anthem policy. 

"The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue," the statement says. "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 statement was issued hours after the Associated Press' Rob Maaddi obtained a copy of the Miami Dolphins' proposed punishments for players who protest social injustice and police brutality during the national anthem. 

According to the Dolphins' policy, players could be suspended for up to four games for breaching the league's anthem rules. The punishment would reportedly fall under "conduct detrimental to the club." 

Citing a team source, ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported the team has "no intention of suspending a player for four games based on any type of anthem protest."

"The NFL required each team to submit their rules regarding the anthem before their players reported to training camp," the Dolphins said in a statement to Maaddi. "We will address this issue once the season starts. All options are still open."

In May, the NFL's owners approved a policy for the 2018 season that allowed teams to set their own guidelines "to ensure the anthem is being respected during any on-field action," per NFL.com's Austin Knoblauch

Specifically, the NFL stated "all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed."

If players don't follow those rules, they can be disciplined in the form of fines or suspensions. 

The NFLPA has filed a grievance against the NFL on July 10 to try to work toward an amicable solution.  

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