NFL Players Union Files Grievance With League Over National Anthem Policy

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif.

The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance with the league challenging its national anthem policy.

The union says that the new policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on players’ rights.

In May, the NFL approved its national anthem policy at its owners meetings in Atlanta. The policy allows players to protest during the national anthem by staying in the locker room, but forbids them from sitting or taking a knee if they’re on the field or the sidelines. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced during a press conference on May 23 that the NFL would fine any players who do not stand for the national anthem, citing “keeping focus on the game” and saying that players can “stay in the locker room until the anthem has been performed.”

Goodell’s move capped a season of national anthem protests by NFL players in which they “took a knee” to draw attention to police brutality and systemized racial discrimination. Pres. Trump frequently inserted himself into the controversy, saying they should “take that son of a bitch off the field” if a player takes a knee for the anthem and insinuating that those who do so should be fired or suspended.