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Policy to punish NFL players who kneel in protest on hold

PICTURED: Miami Dolphins Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills (Photo credit: Stephen Brashear/AP)

A POLICY which enabled NFL bosses to discipline players who protest during national anthem with suspensions, fines or both has been put on hold.

Hours after the "Proper Anthem Conduct" policy was announced yesterday (Jul 19) where Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games, the league and the players union issued a joint statement late Thursday night saying the two sides are talking things out.

“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," the statement read.

"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.”

The NFL rule that was passed in May forbid players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish.

According to Associated Press, the policy said teams would be fined if players didn’t stand during the anthem while on the field.

None of the team policies had been made public until the AP obtained a copy of Miami’s nine-page discipline document. It included a one-sentence section on “Proper Anthem Conduct” and was provided to the AP 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.

The Dolphins said in a statement: “The NFL required each team to submit their rules regarding the anthem before their players reported to training camp. We will address this issue once the season starts. All options are still open.”

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