PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — New developments in the controversy over national anthem protests in the NFL.
The Miami Dolphins have reportedly adopted a policy to suspend players who protest on the field during the anthem.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have not revealed team discipline rules on this. In fact, none of the NFL team policies have been made public, except for Miami.
A private discipline document given to the Associated Press states that Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended up to four games.
The “Proper Anthem Conduct” section is just one sentence in a nine-page discipline document provided to The Associated Press 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.
So what do Steelers fans think?
“I think that’s horrible because America is based upon our Constitution and freedom of speech is key,” said Linda Watson of Ross.
Cody Vanebor, of Erie, said: “I definitely think it’s a good policy to suspend them. I’m a big hockey fan, not a big football fan, and you look at the NHL, and you have none of that going on. That’s all I can say, you should definitely stand for your national anthem.”
Aaron Love, of Crafton, said: “They get paid to play football, and as long as they’re doing their job, why should they be suspended for exercising their rights?”
Richard Boyer, of Mount Lebanon, said: “It’s up to the team. They’re the employer, and they can exert their rules.”
Miami’s policy comes after the NFL decided in May that teams could be fined if players did not stand during the anthem.
That NFL policy allows players to “stay in their locker room” during the anthem. However, if they come on the field they “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
At the time, Art Rooney II said this of the NFL policy: “I think that we’ve listened to a lot of different viewpoints including our fans over the last year, and I think this policy attempts to come out in a place where we respected everybody’s point of view on this as best we could.”
It allows individual teams to decide how punish players.
But the new league rules were challenged this month in a grievance by the players union.
The NFL declined to comment. Dolphins team officials had no immediate comment.
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