The NFL will not be enforcing its anthem policy—in the short term, at least.
According to a joint statement from the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) released Thursday, “no new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks” as the two sides continue to work on coming to an agreement.
The statement came just hours after the Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who “protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended for up to four games.” The policy, which was issued this week, followed a new rule passed by the NFL in May that bars players from sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem if they are on the field or sidelines. Players can choose to remain in the locker room if they wish not to participate.
However, that policy was challenged by the NFLPA earlier this month, which filed a non-injury grievance challenging the policy. The grievance noted that “this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”
The NFLPA’s challenge to the policy has resulted in discussions between the organization and the NFL in recent weeks, but they have yet to come to a conclusion. The two parties therefore decided to put any new policies on hold while discussions continue, noting that their shared focus will “remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”