The NFL Players Association filed a grievance with the NFL over the new national anthem policy. Approved in May, the new policy gives players the option of staying in the locker room if they do not feel like standing for the national anthem. If they’re on the field for the anthem, the policy requires them to stand or be subject to fines if they don’t.
From the official NFL Players Association website:
Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL’s recently imposed anthem policy. The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.
In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon.
The new anthem policy was put into place May 24 so it’s a bit surprising to see this response come almost two months later, but this is something that the NFLPA had to address.
The NFL touted the measure as a “compromise”, but did not consult with the NFLPA before imposing this rule. The players were the ones using the anthem as a conduit for social change, yet they were left out of the discussions on how to proceed. That will surely be a main talking point as the NFL and NFLPA meet to come to a conclusion on the issue.
The NFLPA’s grievance will be heard by an independent arbitrator.
No one was left happy with the new rule, including the President of the United States. That’s a third party that will undoubtedly have an outside influence on the anthem policy proceedings, but for now it’s just between the NFL and the NFLPA.