The NFL last season convinced many players to stop protesting during the National Anthem by promising to donate a significant amount to money to social justice issues. But in May, team owners voted on a policy requiring all players and staff to stand during the National Anthem. Players who did not wish to stand were allowed to remain in the locker room. Teams found in violation of the policy would be punished with a fine.
On Thursday, the NFL announced it was putting the policy on hold while addressing a grievance the NFL Players Association had filed against the league. Players filed the complaint on July 10th, insisting that the league’s National Anthem policy was a violation of players’ rights.
“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,” reads a joint statement. “No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”
In exchange for the policy freeze, the NFLPA agreed not to sue the league.
“Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments outside of litigation,” continues the statement. “The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeated demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness, and justice.”
The policy freeze nullifies the Miami Dolphins’ recently announced policy to punish players who disrespect the flag by suspending them for up to four games. According to a Dolphins source, the NFL had asked all teams to submit conduct rules for the National Anthem.
The NFL hopes to resolve the issue before the Chicago/Ravens preseason game on August 2nd.
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