NFL Stands Down, Suspends National Anthem Policy While It Negotiates With NFLPA

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In the aftermath of today’s AP report that the Miami Dolphins (and possibly other teams) would classify players’ protests during the pregame national anthem as punishable offenses, the NFL and NFL Players Association have released a joint statement saying that all rules related to its anthem policy will be frozen while the two sides negotiate. Here’s the memo, with characteristically impenetrable language:

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 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.

This is a hilarious display of incompetence and impotence by the NFL and its owners. The policy was introduced in May and hadn’t even been utilized in a game yet! (The first preseason game is Aug. 2.) The league’s compromise was another instance of owners trying to flex their power, but the union’s grievance and players’ open complaints forced the two sides to go back to the table. It worked! Now don’t let up, and keep using this strategy.