The Dolphins could suspend players for kneeling during the national anthem

For the Miami Dolphins, the NFL’s anthem policy isn’t enough. The team is going a step farther in punishing players who kneel during the national anthem. According to the Associated Press, a team discipline document now includes a section on “Proper Anthem Conduct.”

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 Miami Dolphins could suspend players who kneel during the national anthem in the pregame. (AP)
The Miami Dolphins could suspend players who kneel during the national anthem in the pregame. (AP)

Punishment for players can be up to four games, the Associated Press reported. However, it’s rare for players to be suspended for that long.

It’s so rare that when Dolphins player Phillip Merling was arrested and charged with assaulting his pregnant fiancée in 2010, he wasn’t suspended a single game.

NFL owners passed their national anthem rule in May, which prohibits players from taking a knee during the song. The players who disobey and kneel are subject to fines, as are their teams.

Dolphins owner Steve Ross commented in March that “All of our players will be standing” for the anthem. He told the New York Daily News that he initially supported what the players were trying to accomplish by kneeling, but he then began to feel that the players were kneeling to protest against “support of our country or the military,” despite the players explicitly saying that was not the case.

Ross also said he was influenced by President Donald Trump’s comments against the players kneeling.

The day after his comments were published in the Daily News, Ross walked back what he said and clarified that he didn’t intend to force Dolphins players to stand.

Technically Ross isn’t forcing Dolphins players to stand, but he’s making it extremely painful if they decide to do otherwise.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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