SportsPulse: From Oxnard, NFL insider Jarrett Bell reacts to Jerry Jones stating that all his players are required to stand during the national anthem.
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase refused to speculate Thursday about if his team would actually a suspend a player for protesting during the national anthem.
“I’ll wait and see what we’re told by the NFL and the NFLPA, as far as how their conversations go. I’ll wait till we actually start games,” Gase said. “It seems like things change a lot.”
The Dolphins found themselves at the center of the conversation about player protests last week when the Associated Press reported the team had included a provision for fining or suspending players who fail to comply with the league’s new anthem policy. The league-wide policy, passed by owners in May, requires players to either stand on the sideline during the anthem or remain in the locker room. Teams could be fined for violations, but individual franchises also have leeway to administer their own punishments for violations.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross responded late last week that the line in the player manual was a “placeholder” until the team had further discussions. The league and players’ union, which had filed a grievance against the league, have since agreed to a truce while the sides discuss the matter.
Gase said he’ll wait to see the results of those talks, and learns what instructions he gets from the league and from Ross, before conveying any new information to his players. He also implied that the backlash when the Dolphins’ initial policy became public may have been overblown, and that suspending players would be unlikely.
“I mean, if anyone knew actual rules of the NFL, good luck suspending somebody. It takes about 5,000 things before anybody can get suspended,” Gase said.
The Dolphins last year suspended linebacker Lawrence Timmons after he tried to leave an extended team trip in California. That suspension, initially described as indefinite, lasted less than two weeks.
The Dolphins had multiple players who consistently took a knee during the anthem last year as a means to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Only one of those players, wide receiver Kenny Stills, remains on the roster. They also traded for defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams, who raised his fist during the anthem through the past two seasons.
“Obviously I’d like to see there be no policy at all, and the guys have a choice to go out there and do what they want to, and we can support each other and the decisions we want to make,” Stills said, according to The Palm Beach Post.
The Ruling Off The Field: Talk about all of this and more over here
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.