Stephen Ross: Dolphins' Policy for Protest During Anthem Was 'Placeholder'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross speaks to the media prior to the start of the NFL football teams training camp in Davie, Fla., Friday, July 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
Joel Auerbach/Associated Press

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross released a statement Friday saying the team's policy to suspend players up to four games for protesting during the national anthem was a "placeholder." 

The Dolphins posted comments from Ross, who said no final decision has been made, after Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reported the Dolphins' prospective punishment plan Thursday:

Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins

Statement from Owner Stephen Ross https://t.co/cl1mS11HH0

The Dolphins reported policy included 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," per Maaddi.

The National Football League Players Association announced Friday it reached a "standstill agreement" with the NFL to postpone punishments for kneeling or other acts of protests in exchange for not moving forward with its grievance while the sides continue "confidential discussions."

"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," the NFLPA wrote. "Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation."

Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com reported both sides want the focus to remain on football with the preseason schedule set to begin Aug. 2 when the Chicago Bears take on the Baltimore Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game. The delay will "provide time for a more clear plan."

In May, NFL owners approved a plan that would allow the league to fine teams who had a player protest during the anthem and gave individual organizations the power to punish those players.

Tennessee Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey told Motez Bishara of CNN this week before the policy delay was announced he planned to protest during the anthem and accept the financial penalty.

"I'm going to take a fine this year, why not?" Casey said. "I'm going to protest during the flag. That's what I'm going to say now."

The issue has been a frequent target of United States President Donald Trump, who said in September that NFL owners should fire players who don't stand for the Star-Spangled Banner.