DAVIE — The simplest and most ideal solution Kenny Stills is offering amid the NFL’s national anthem policy debate is to get rid of it altogether.
The league and the NFLPA are discussing revisions to the rules the owners enacted in March, and the mandate for players to stand or stay out of sight is on hold for now. The two Dolphins players who have demonstrated in the past, Stills and defensive end Robert Quinn, are waiting for that resolution until they decide how they’ll handle the anthem this season.
But if they had a say, it’d be an easy choice.
“I’ll just say one thing: It’s called freedom of speech,” Quinn said when asked what should happen. “Simple as that. It’s freedom of speech.”
Stills agreed, saying, “Obviously I’d like to see there be no policy at all, and the guys have a choice to go out there and do what they want to, and we can support each other and the decisions we want to make.”
This was the first time Quinn and Stills have spoken to the media since the Dolphins drew national attention last week when an Associated Press report indicated they submitted documents listing suspension as a possible penalty to for violating the anthem rules.
The team later said it hasn’t made a decision on the policy yet, and the NFL and the union are continuing to discuss a potential resolution. Dolphins coach Adam Gase said he’s waiting until something comes down from the league, but can’t envision a player being suspended over the national anthem.
The impasse didn’t stop Cowboys owner Jerry Jones from declaring that his players will be required to stand for the anthem and won’t have the option of remaining out of sight.
“I wouldn’t expect anything different,” Stills said of Jones.
Quinn and Stills said there hasn’t been much dialogue with management about the issue and their attention is centered on preparing for the upcoming season. The Dolphins opened training camp today and play their first preseason game Aug. 9 at home against Tampa Bay.
Stills has worked frequently with owner Stephen Ross in social justice efforts and appears to have had a good relationship with him during his four years playing for the Dolphins. He hasn’t spoken much with Ross about the national anthem issue since last season.
Quinn, who came in on a trade with the Rams this offseason, said he’s never discussed it with Ross.
“No one brought it up,” Quinn said. “Until we have a discussion, that’s just where it is right now. If the topic comes up, then it comes up. But right now, I’ll hold my opinion to myself and try to do my best to make this football team better.”
While Stills kneeled the last two seasons, Quinn raised a fist during the anthem last year. The NFL’s no-kneeling policy did not specifically address an action like Quinn’s, though it could be covered under the requirement to “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.