The Broward County sheriff’s union is calling for an end to police escorts that protect the Miami Dolphins in response to four players kneeling in protest during the national anthem last week.
Union president Jeff Bell says the union is pushing deputies and the sheriff’s department not to provide security detail until the team forces all players to stand for the anthem. Bell also issued an interpretation of the First Amendment that should terrify anyone:
I respect their right to have freedom of speech. However, in certain organizations and certain jobs you give up that right of your freedom of speech temporary [sic] while you serve that job or while you play in an NFL game.
The Dolphins’ first home game is next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Four Dolphins players—Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas—knelt during the national anthem before last week’s game at Seattle. The team issued a statement saying it encouraged all members of the organization to stand for the anthem, but also recognized “an individual’s right to reflect during the anthem in different ways.”
Foster said taking a knee was a way to join Colin Kaepernick in speaking out against racial inequality and police brutality.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is currently being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for last week’s fatal shooting of Gregory Frazier, who family members say was eating dinner in a lawn chair when he was shot and killed after police were called to the house for a domestic dispute.
The Sheriff’s office had no comment on the union statement; the Miami-Dade Police Department, in whose jurisdiction the Dolphins’ stadium actually sits, stated it has “contractual obligations with Hard Rock Stadium to provide public safety.”