Why Adam Gase reversed course and allowed Miami Dolphins to kneel for national anthem

This photo was taken in London, England, before the Dolphins established a team policy prohibiting on-field national anthem kneeling. On Sunday night, these same three Dolphins took a knee on the field at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS — Three Miami Dolphins kneeled during the national anthem on Sunday night because their coach, Adam Gase, said it was all right.

Gase had previously stated that any player who wanted to kneel could stay off the field and in the locker room before games.

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Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills and Julius Thomas all took a knee on the field at Hard Rock Stadium.

“He just gave us the go, that was it,” Michael Thomas said. “He was just like, ‘Man do what y’all got to do to be not thinking about it. So you don’t have to think about what you’re going to do as far as coming to the locker room before the anthem. None of that. Just go out there and play. If y’all want to take a knee, take a knee.’ He’s not worried about that. He’s just trying to win games.”

A league source said during the game that the players felt they could not be themselves and that it interfered with their pregame preparation.

The source added that while Gase would prefer the players stand, he respected their right to express themselves and relaxed the team rule.

The players have said they’re kneeling in protest of racial inequality in the United States.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said last month it was “incumbent upon” his players to “stand and salute the flag” because Donald Trump has tried to frame it as an issue of patriotism. Gase said then Ross did not institute the new rule.

On Saturday, a joint initiative between Ross and the Dolphins players was announced, creating a fund for advocacy and social justice programs. Ownership and players also will also highlight groups and organizations that tackle those challenges in the community.

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