With the NFL’s convoluted national anthem policy, teams now have a guideline for how to punish players—if they chose to do so—for protesting on the field during the anthem. The Miami Dolphins have decided to keep that option open just in case they need it.
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reported today that the Dolphins’ “discipline document”—basically a schedule of potential suspensions and fines for various infractions—considers protests during the national anthem to be “conduct detrimental to the club.” There is apparently a one-sentence section about “Proper Anthem Conduct.” The maximum potential punishment for detrimental conduct is a four-game suspension.
Perhaps this to be expected from team owner Stephen Ross, who championed the players’ protests right up until Donald Trump flapped his gums. “I was totally supportive of [the players] until Trump made his statement,” Ross said in his deposition for Colin Kaepernick’s grievance against the league.
This is not necessarily a Dolphins-specific policy, however, according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington. The rest of the NFL’s teams may have similar language in their discipline schedules, and they’ll now have to cover their asses to the extent that they see fit.
Even though the Dolphins have reportedly not decided on what the actual punishment for protesting will be, the players ought to test the rule. They hold the power and have the numbers. Donald Trump can’t score a touchdown or make a tackle. Reject this, just like the union has. It’ll be good practice for the greater fight ahead, anyway.