In recent weeks, the trio of Dolphins players who had been kneeling during the anthem had been staying in the tunnel. On Sunday night, receiver Kenny Stills, tight end Julius Thomas, and safety Michael Thomas returned to the field and took a knee during the anthem.
As noted by Joe Schad of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the gesture doesn’t mesh with the terms of a policy the Dolphins had put in place last month.
That said, the league’s policy does not mandate standing. If anything, the decision to kneel on the sideline more closely meshes with the NFL’s rules on the issue, since presence on the sideline during the anthem is mandatory, but standing is not.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the players believed adherence to the team policy interfered with their preparations for the game. As a result, the team relaxed the rule, according to Salguero.