The NFL’s two-month old national anthem policy is on hold.
Hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week Buccaneers Jordan Whitehead Jersey , the league and the players union issued a joint statement late Thursday night saying the two sides are talking things out.
”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 statement read. ”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.”
The issue has dominated headlines over the past two seasons, caused division and alienated some fans.
The NFL rule that was passed in May forbid players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. The policy said teams would be fined if players didn’t stand during the anthem while on the field. The league left it up to teams on how to punish players.
None of the team policies had been made public until the AP obtained a copy of Miami’s nine-page discipline document. It included a one-sentence section on ”Proper Anthem Conduct” and was provided to the AP 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,” all of which could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine or both.
The Dolphins said in a statement: ”The NFL required each team to submit their rules regarding the anthem before their players reported to training camp. We will address this issue once the season starts. All options are still open.”
Miami can choose not to issue any suspension nor fine any player guilty of ”conduct detrimental to the club.” Other violations under that label include drug use or possession, gambling Vita Vea Buccaneers Jersey , breaking curfew and riding motorcycles as a driver or passenger from the start of camp until the last game of the season.
Jets acting owner Christopher Johnson said shortly after the league announced its policy that he will not punish his players for any peaceful protests – and would pay any potential fines incurred by the team as a result of his players’ actions.
The new league rules were challenged this month in a grievance by the players union. The NFLPA said the NFL policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the players union, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights. Now, the two sides are hoping to reach a solution without litigation.
Dolphins veteran receiver Kenny Stills took a knee with a hand on his heart during the anthem throughout last season. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips put his arm around Stills before one game. Two other players who knelt – safety Michael Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas – are no longer with the team.
Defensive end Robert Quinn, who raised his fist during the anthem while with the Rams, is now with the Dolphins.
”Players who are on the field during the Anthem performance must stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” says the 16th and final bullet point on Miami’s list of conduct considered detrimental, below disparaging teammates, coaches or officials including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009 – the year it signed a marketing deal with the military.
In 2016, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to other players and teams.
Critics led by President Donald Trump called the players unpatriotic and even said NFL owners should fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem. Some players countered that their actions were being misconstrued and that they are seeking social change rather than protesting the anthem itself.
Trump’s criticism led more than 200 players to protest during one weekend, and some kept it up throughout the season.
The league and a coalition of players have been working in tandem to support player initiatives for a variety of social issues. The NFL is committing $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.
Kaepernick didn’t play at all last season and still hasn’t been picked up by another team. He threw 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions in his final season in 2016. Safety Eric Reid, one of Kaepernick’s former teammates and another protest leader Authentic Brian Allen Jersey , is also out of work.
Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami, AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak in New York and AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.
鈥?The Atlanta Falcons know they’ll have to win three consecutive road games to get a chance for Super Bowl redemption.The Falcons already nabbed the first victory by spoiling a festive night in Los Angeles, and they seem quite confident about their chances to run the table in other people’s buildings on the way to Minneapolis.Matt Ryan passed for 218 yards and hit Julio Jones for an 8-yard touchdown with 5:48 to play, and the defending NFC champion Falcons advanced from the wild-card round with a 26-13 victory over the upstart Rams on Saturday night.Devonta Freeman rushed for an early score and Matt Bryant kicked four field goals for the Falcons (11-6), who dropped to the sixth seed in the conference after finishing one game out of first place in the NFC South. Atlanta went only 5-3 on the road in the regular season.But judging from a comprehensively solid performance against the hungry Rams (11-6), that tough division race and last season’s deep playoff run prepared Atlanta for the grind necessary to win back-to-back NFC titles.“We don’t care where we play these games, because we know it’s about us, not the crowd or the opponent,” Atlanta safety Ricardo Allen said.The next place they’re headed is Philadelphia: The Falcons advanced to face the top-seeded Eagles on Jan. 13.“Doesn’t matter where we’re going, we’re going,” Ryan said. “And that’s the most exciting part.”Atlanta’s journey to the Super Bowl last season ended infamously with that blown 28-3 lead against New England. In their first playoff game since, the Falcons spoiled the Rams’ first playoff game in 13 years with a methodical performance derived from hard-earned experience.The Falcons’ defense held the NFL’s highest-scoring offense to one touchdown while muzzling Todd Gurley and harassing Jared Goff, who went 24 for 45 in his playoff debut.Jones caught nine passes for 94 yards for Atlanta, which never trailed while winning playoff games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. Against an opponent that had just six players on its roster with prior postseason appearances Authentic Adam Boqvist Jersey , the Falcons’ experience showed through.“I think having gone through these situations, understanding what it’s like, the atmosphere, those kinds of things, knowing that it’s going to be tough, all those things kind of carry forward,” Ryan said. “But at the end of the day, experience or no experience, you’ve got to execute.”A raucous crowd of 74,300 packed the Coliseum on a crisp evening for the first NFL playoff game in the nation’s second-largest city since early 1994. Los Angeles went 21 years without pro football before the Rams returned last season, and the franchise emphatically ended a 13-year streak of non-winning seasons this fall with an inspiring run to the Rams’ first division title since 2003.Robert Woods caught nine passes for 142 yards, but rookie Cooper Kupp scored the Rams’ only touchdown late in the first half. Pro Bowl kick returner Pharoh Cooper also muffed a punt and fumbled a kickoff return early, leading to 10 points for the Falcons.LA LETDOWNThe Falcons ruined a celebratory night for the Rams, who rebounded from a rough homecoming season in 2016 with an outstanding debut year under 31-year-old Sean McVay Harrison Phillips Jersey Elite , the youngest head coach to reach the playoffs in NFL history. A celebrity-studded crowd attended the game and watched a halftime performance from Long Beach’s own Snoop Dogg, but the Rams couldn’t come through.“You see why the Falcons are the defending NFC champs,” McVay said. “Certainly this is a humbling game. … This is an experience that we can learn from. But I don’t think this game was too big for our guys.”The Rams are just 4-11 at the Coliseum since returning to LA last season.EATING CLOCKThe Falcons dominated the game by controlling the ball for 37:35, patiently running the ball with Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The Rams’ defense simply couldn’t get off the field in the third quarter, whether due to missed tackles or clever play-calling by the Falcons.BAD FIELDThe Coliseum turf was noticeably slippery for both teams, and many players changed cleats at halftime to combat the conditions. The field at the venerable stadium isn’t known for being particularly bad, but new sod and January dew apparently made it more perilous than usual.The Falcons shook it off.“We had to be prepared for everything,” Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu said. “We saw it wasn’t good conditions early, so we had our minds ready for it.”GETTING GURLEYGurley got just 43 of his 101 yards rushing in the first three quarters, and the Falcons eliminated him from the passing game almost entirely, giving up only four receptions for 10 yards despite 10 targets of the NFL’s leader in yards from scrimmage.“They did a great job,” Gurley said of the Atlanta defense. “They have great players. They’re not the reigning NFC champs for no reason.”.