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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Dolphins label anthem policy ‘conduct detrimental’; could fine or suspend violators

By Field Level Sports | Jul 20, 2018

The Miami Dolphins have classified violations of the league’s new national anthem policy as “conduct detrimental” and could fine or suspend players who do not follow the policy, according to multiple reports Thursday.

Like all NFL teams, the Dolphins are required to provide an annual discipline schedule to the league when players report for training camp. Miami’s rookies reported Thursday.

According to multiple reports, the one-sentence anthem policy is included under a long list of “conduct detrimental to the club” in Miami’s nine-page discipline document.

Per the collective bargaining agreement, any violations of rules classified as conduct detrimental -- which includes all kinds of rules including those relating to curfew and punctuality, for example -- can be punished by anything from a fine to a four-game suspension. Punishment is not required for a conduct-detrimental violation, and it is entirely at the team’s discretion.

According to multiple reports, the Dolphins have not made any decisions about how -- or if -- they will discipline players who violate the league’s anthem policy. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports the team does not intend to suspend violators. The MMQB’s Albert Breer reports the team put anthem language under the conduct-detrimental section “as a placeholder, basically,” giving the team more time to decide how it will handle violations.

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

Later Thursday evening, the NFL and NFL Players Association issued a joint statement on the subject of the anthem, saying the sides are “working on a resolution to the anthem issue,” and that all new rules relating to the anthem will be put on hold for “the next several weeks.”

Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills has kneeled during the anthem numerous times the last two seasons, and said in May he was still considering doing so this coming season. Newly acquired defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist during the anthem the past two years while with the Los Angeles Rams.

The NFL and its owners passed a new policy this offseason that requires players to “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem” or stay in the locker room during the playing of the anthem. The policy calls for fines and punishment to be charged to a player’s team for any mode of disrespect during the anthem.

Teams will be allowed to pay the fines for their players, something New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson has already said he will do, or they can choose to punish their players. Any punishment imposed by a team upon one of its players must come via the conduct detrimental classification.

Last week, the NFLPA filed a non-injury grievance challenging the new policy, saying it was imposed without consultation of the players and “is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”

The owners set the new rule in an attempt to quash the silent protests that started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the anthem in what he said was a stand against racial injustice.

 

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