Four Dolphins players opted not to stand for the national anthem. One local law-enforcement union has spoken out, loudly, on the topic.
Via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association has called for the suspension of escorts and other protective services for the Dolphins. The move comes in direct response to the decision of four players to kneel during the national anthem prior to last Sunday’s season-opening game at Seattle.
“I can not [sic] fathom why the Miami Dolphin organization and the NFL would allow the blatant disrespect of the American Flag and what it stands for during the national anthem,” wrote union president Jeff Bell. “It is a privilege to play in the NFL, not a given constitutional right. The Miami Dolphin players, staff and family members enjoy full police escorts from the Broward Sheriff’s Office on a regular basis. These escorts often involve putting the men and women of law enforcement agencies at risk as they block intersections during peak traffic times in order to expedite the travel time between facilities.”
The bulk of the letter makes it clear that the complaints from the union trace not to kneeling for the anthem but to the primary reason for the kneeling: Concerns about police brutality against African-Americans and people of color.
“We have buried coworkers who have unnecessarily lost their lives protecting the lives of individuals,” Bell writes. “Some law enforcement officers even lost their lives while protecting the lives of the very same individuals who were protesting against law enforcement. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Local 6020 is seeking the immediate termination of all Miami Dolphin escorts until such time [as] the Miami Dolphins and the National Football League set forth a policy that will not tolerate the disrespect of the American Flag and National Anthem during any sanctioned games or events.”
Bell wants the Dolphins to mandate that the players stand for the anthem. But with no league rule requiring it and no term of the labor deal between the NFL and NFL Players Association permitting players to be disciplined for failing to stand, there’s nothing the Dolphins can do.
Meanwhile, it continues to be confounding that a clear and obvious middle ground between those who oppose police misconduct and those who oppose misconduct against police can’t be recognized and accepted. Any sane and reasonable person should oppose both, but in this red state/blue state, I’m-right-your-a-idiot reality of American discourse, even the most easily harmonized positions must be forced into polar opposites, with the concerns framed not as pro-common-sense and pro-justice-for-all but pro-police and anti-police, with no gray area between the extremes.