The NFL’s national anthem policy is on hold, according to a joint statement released Thursday by the league and the NFL Players Association.
The announcement comes just hours after the Associated Press obtained a “discipline document” created by the Miami Dolphins that says players could be suspended up to four games if they protest during the anthem, making them the first team with a policy that could punish players for demonstrating. According to multiple reports, it is unlikely the players would have been suspended if they had protested.
Like the NFL’s overall rules on the anthem, the Dolphins’ policy created another PR nightmare for the league, leaving many still wondering whether or not the NFL knows how to handle this situation at all.
NFL owners approved a policy this past spring that required players to stand while on the field for the playing of the national anthem. The policy also allows players to stay in the locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but teams can be subject to fines if they do not “show respect” for the anthem. Teams can also penalize players or personnel if they decide to protest.
In July, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance with the league over the new rules.
The current policy, as it stands, is flawed and it’s unclear when a resolution will be reached.