REPORT: Miami Dolphins Players Face Team-Imposed Suspensions, Fines For Protesting Anthem
Earlier in the offseason, while attempting to put an end to the national anthem protests, the NFL said that they would fine teams with players who sit or take a knee during the anthem. However, they decided that they would leave it up to the teams themselves to determine punishments for individual players who are deemed to be “disrespecting the anthem.”
The New York Jets responded to the NFL’s new policy by announcing that they would personally pay the fines of any of their players who are fined for protesting during the anthem. As for their AFC East rivals, the Miami Dolphins, they’ve decided to go in a completely different direction with their approach towards the league’s new rules.
According to The Associated Press (via ESPN), the Dolphins issued their own team policy this week that says any on-field protest during the anthem could result in a fine and a suspension of up to 4 games.
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,” all of which could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine, or both.
While the punishment seems rather steep, one source told ESPN that they don’t believe the team will actually suspend any of its players for kneeling or performing any other sort of protest during the anthem. Rather, the Dolphins are simply listing the maximum penalties for “Conduct detrimental to the Club,” which would allow them to scale things back once any infractions actually occur. As per league protocol, all teams are expected to submit paperwork outlining potential discipline for players before the beginning of training camp.
Last season, wide receiver Kenny Stills, tight end Julius Thomas, and safety Michael Thomas all kneeled during the anthem on several occasions. Only Stills remains on the team’s roster heading into 2018.