A day after his team made headlines for classifying violations of the NFL’s new national anthem policy as “conduct detrimental,” Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Friday the Dolphins haven’t decided if or how to punish violators of the policy.
“We were asked to submit a form to the NFL on our overall discipline policy prior to the start of the rookie report date,” Ross said in a statement released by the team. “The one line sentence related to the national anthem was a placeholder as we haven’t made a decision on what we would do, if anything, at that point. I’m pleased that the NFL and NFLPA are taking a pause to figure out a resolution on this issue.
“I am passionate about social justice, and through the Miami Dolphins and the creation of RISE, will continue to use the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.”
In an annual discipline schedule submitted to the league — like all teams are required to submit — on Thursday, the Dolphins included the anthem policy under a long list of “conduct detrimental to the club.”
Per the collective bargaining agreement, violations of rules classified as conduct detrimental — a broad umbrella that includes rules pertaining 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.
Multiple reports Thursday stated what Ross reiterated Friday — that the Dolphins put the anthem-related information in the document as a placeholder, and that the team has yet to make any decisions about if or how it will punish players who violate the policy.
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.”
The NFLPA had filed a grievance challenging the new policy early last week, saying it was imposed without the consultation of players and infringed on their rights.
The NFL and its owners passed the new policy this offseason, requiring players to “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem” or stay in the locker room during the playing of the anthem. It calls for fines to be charged to a player’s team for any mode of disrespect during the anthem, with teams deciding whether to punish their players.
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.
—Field Level Media