The Latest on the Miami Dolphins anthem policy (all times local):
The NFL and National Football League Players Association released a joint statement, saying:
“The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. 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 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.
“Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”
Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, an online civil rights organization that has supported boycotting the NFL, points out that the Dolphins’ policy puts protesting the national anthem on the same plane as testing positive for drugs or domestic violence charges.
A positive drug test carries a potential four-game suspension, and domestic violence charges can carry a six-game suspension and even a lifetime ban for a second offense.
“It speaks volumes about what they think about black people,” Robinson said. “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 he has been in touch in recent months with Ross’ Initiative in Sports for Equality, or RISE, to help find new leadership for the nonprofit. RISE is “dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress,” according to the organization’s website.
“(Ross’) idea of harnessing people’s political voice is shutting it down,” Robinson said.
— AP National Writer Errin Haines Whack reporting from Philadelphia.
The Dolphins say “all options are still open” regarding the team’s decision to include protesting the anthem on the large list of violations considered conduct detrimental to the club and subject to a suspension of up to four games under a team policy issued this week.
The “Proper Anthem Conduct” section is just one sentence in a nine-page discipline document provided to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the policy who insisted on anonymity because the document is not public. It classifies anthem protests under a large list of “conduct detrimental to the club” that includes gambling, riding motorcycles and more, all of which could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine or both.