DAVIE — As the NFL’s national anthem policy remains uncertain, Dolphins coach Adam Gase can’t foresee any player missing games as a punishment for violating whatever rule the league implements.
Gase, whose team came under fire recently when a report indicated it might suspend players who kneel or demonstrate during the anthem, said today that outcome seems unrealistic.
“If anybody knew actual rules in the NFL, good luck suspending somebody,” he said. “It takes about 5,000 things before anybody can get suspended by a club.”
He added, “I’m just telling you, other incidents that have happened in the past, it’s harder to suspend guys than what anybody realizes.”
Protests during the anthem have been an issue since 2016, Gase’s first year as head coach of the Dolphins. Since then, the team’s response has been all over the place. There was a stretch last season in which players were required to stay in the locker room if they weren’t going to stand, but that policy was pulled back.
It’s been a similarly turbulent ride for the NFL, which believed it finally solved the problem by laying down rules in March that required players to stand or stay off the field. It put that policy on hold after the NFLPA filed a grievance this month, and the league and players union agreed to continue trying to find a solution that suits both sides.
That takes the issue out of Gase’s hands for the moment. He doesn’t have to answer questions about a policy that currently isn’t in place.
“I just kinda wait and see what we’re told by the NFL and NFLPA, what’s going on as far as their conversations go,” he said. “I wait until we actually start games. It seems like things change a lot.”
The Dolphins have two key players who have demonstrated in the past. Wide receiver Kenny Stills kneeled during the anthem the last two seasons, and new defensive end Robert Quinn raised a first last year while with the Rams.
Neither player has indicated their plans for the upcoming season, but both spoke today in favor of players having the freedom to express themselves.
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