In May, the NFL unilaterally instituted a new policy surrounding the national anthem that would punish players and teams for kneeling as away to protest police brutality against people of color. On the heels of that one-sided decision, the NFLPA filed a grievance, citing the league’s lack of consultation with its players on the new rules and inspiring further discussion on the topic.
Fast-forward to mid-July and, of course, discussions are ongoing surrounding what the league should do with regard to the anthem. This time, though, the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement that places a freeze on any rules or enforcement as that dialogue continues.
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. 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.
Though it remains to be seen what the final policy proves to be, this is a situation that, at the very least, allows NFLPA representatives to continue discussing the rules without the original policy looming over everything. Given the grievance, it is clear that the league’s players were not pleased in the slightest with the lack of information prior to the rule installation and this provides a bit more room to explore in attempting to find a middle ground for the future.