Dolphins Implement Policy Requiring Players To Stand Or Stay In Locker Room For Anthem
The Dolphins have "implemented a policy requiring players to stand for the National Anthem or stay behind in the locker-room if they choose not to do so," according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Three Dolphins players -- TE Julius Thomas, S Michael Thomas and WR Kenny Stills -- "opted to stay in the locker-room during the anthem" prior to yesterday’s game against the Titans. Dolphins coach Adam Gase said that he "made the decision on the new policy after consulting with players." Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, speaking at a pregame tailgate event for his RISE program, said that President Trump has "'changed that whole paradigm' of protesting during the anthem into a statement on patriotism." Ross said that players "protesting social issues have been perceived by the public to be protesting the flag and patriotism." He said, "Trump has made (standing for the anthem) about patriotism. It's so important if that's what the country is looking at to look at it differently. ... It's a different dialogue. Whenever you're dealing with the flag, you're dealing with something different" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/9). In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser noted Ross has been one of the "most outspoken owners in the league in his support of players demonstrating," and Gase has "completely stayed out of it until now." Ross initially said that the "decision for all Dolphins to stand was based on a team vote, though it was later clarified that Gase made the call" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 10/8). Ross said that he "remains supportive of what Dolphins players did last season" when several players "chose to kneel during the national anthem." He added that he "sees sports as a way of uniting and spreading a message of togetherness, especially with the youth" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/9). In Miami, Armando Salguero notes Ross continues to "believe in issues of equality." However, he "doesn’t want to be perceived as being against the country or unpatriotic" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/9).
DEALING WITH CURRENT EVENTS: In Tacoma, Gregg Bell reports several Seahawks players who have been protesting during the anthem this season, including DE Michael Bennett, all stood during yesterday's anthem before their win over the Rams with their "arms around each others’ backs." Seahawks DE Frank Clark said the main reason for the change was to "pay our respect to those people who lost their lives in Las Vegas." He said the players are "going to continue to bring awareness" to issues like social injustice and police brutality. Clark: "I feel like just doing it in a positive manner. There is a time and place for everything. And I feel like today was not the time, honestly, to sit down" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 10/9).
PROTESTS IMPACTING TEAM HARMONY? CBSSPORTS.com's Jason La Canfora noted Steelers WR Antonio Brown made waves last week after "attacking a cooler on the sidelines and yelling at coaches and teammates," and he has been at odds with QB Ben Roethlisberger after a "highly-charged series of events dating back to the Steelers' decision to stay off the sidelines for the national anthem in Chicago two weeks ago." Roethlisberger "spearheaded a decision to reverse course and have the players remain in the tunnel rather than on the sidelines as originally intended." Sources said that during that meeting Brown "expressed his displeasure with how Roethlisberger and others handled the matter, and there was some lingering resentment through the week." Sources said that Brown has "felt strongly the urge to kneel in protest during the anthem" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/8).