2018 NFL Draft: Are Miami Dolphins averse to players who protest?

The Dolphins have had multiple players protest during the national anthem the last two years. (Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS—It’s been a tense couple of years for the NFL when it comes to players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States, and the Dolphins have been right in the middle of it.

Owner Stephen Ross went back and forth on whether the players should kneel, and coach Adam Gase did the same. Gase instituted a policy requiring those players to remain in the locker room during the anthem, then rescinded it after a meeting initiated by Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas.

Gase reiterated throughout the last two seasons that anthem protests weren’t much of a concern to him overall and said today at the NFL Combine that it won’t factor into draft evaluations.

“My biggest thing I’m looking for is—everything’s football related to me,” he said. “We support our guys when they do anything outside our building to try to help our community. In Kenny’s case, he’s really branched out to not only South Florida, outside of there. We’re very supportive of trying to help as many people as our players can try to reach. I feel like our guys do a really good job of that.”

The Dolphins had several players kneel before last season’s game at the Jets, which came shortly after Donald Trump made derogatory comments about Colin Kaepernick and others who protest. One of those players was undrafted rookie Maurice Smith, and his choice did not jeopardize his standing on the roster in any way.

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