Dolphins head into preseason opener with no national anthem policy


The Miami Dolphins have been among the most prominent teams in the NFL’s controversy over players protesting racial inequality by demonstrating during the national anthem, and that story will continue in Thursday’s preseason opener against Tampa Bay.

The league laid down a policy in the spring that requires players to stand for the anthem or remain in off the field, but those rules are suspended while the NFL and the players union continue working toward a solution that satisfies both sides. That means there would be no league discipline if any players demonstrate Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who is frustrated about being caught between having to follow the owners’ rules and managing his players, isn’t going to discuss the issue with the team.

“I’m not instructing anybody for anything,” he said.

Gase was asked what he’ll do if a player kneels and replied, “Talk to somebody else about it. I’m coaching football. I’m not dealing with all this.”

For Gase’s part, he would rather this not be part of his job. He says he devotes little of his time and energy to anything other than football and is often unaware of what’s going on outside that sphere.

Miami has two players who have protested in defensive end Robert Quinn and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Quinn raised a fist during the anthem while playing for the Rams last year. Stills has been kneeling since Colin Kaepernick started the player protest movement in the 2016 season.

Quinn said he had “no idea” what the NFL’s expectations are for players at this point or whether it’s possible to be disciplined for it in the preseason. He has not had any conversations with teammates or Dolphins management about it.

When asked what he planned to do during Thursday’s anthem, Quinn said, “Have my free speech.” He did not specific whether that meant he would continue raising a fist.

“I’ve got my right to free speech,” he said. “That’s all.”

The Dolphins said Stills, one of the most media-friendly players on the team, would not be speaking to reporters after this morning’s practice.

Stills has disagreed with the league’s stance on player protests since the beginning and was unhappy when owners passed the latest rules without any input from players. He advocated for the league leaving the anthem unregulated. 

“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,” he said last month.

Gase is especially close with Stills, who he considers a model player and employee, and has never expressed anything other than support for him and his causes.

Like the league itself, the Dolphins organization has struggled to navigate the national anthem issue.

When Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster and Jelani Jenkins kneeled before the 2016 season opener in Seattle, owner Stephen Ross waited in the locker room after the game to speak to reporters in favor of those players. That continued the rest of the year.

The issue had somewhat died down heading into last season, and Stills no Miami players protested in the first game. Everything changed the following week, when Donald Trump called kneeling players “sons of bitches” who should be kicked out of the league. After those comments, six Dolphins players kneeled for the ensuing game against the Jets.

Ross remained supportive of the protests until October, when he said it was time for players to stand and his team enacted a rule that they had to stay in the locker room if they refused. Stills, Michael Thomas and Julius Thomas objected and brought their concerns to Gase, and the policy was reversed a few weeks later.

There have been various statements and backtracking since then, and it’s not clear at this point exactly where Ross stands. While he typically speaks to the media at the beginning of training camp, he has not been available this summer.

[Dolphins' Cordrea Tankersley is in a fierce battle for starting job at cornerback]

[Dolphins LT Laremy Tunsil is out to prove he can be great]

[It's a really big year for Dolphins CB Xavien Howard]

Check out The Palm Beach Post's Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins releasing Gabe Wright after practice dustup with Kenyan Drake
Miami Dolphins releasing Gabe Wright after practice dustup with Kenyan Drake

The Miami Dolphins are releasing defensive tackle Gabe Wright after he went after running back Kenyan Drake during a practice dustup on Monday, according to a league source. Wright played one game for the Dolphins last season and had an outside chance to make the roster as a depth player. There were several scuffles at Dolphins practice but at one...
Miami Hurricanes notebook: Reserve offensive tackle George Brown Jr. hurt, depth chart watch, IPF update
Miami Hurricanes notebook: Reserve offensive tackle George Brown Jr. hurt, depth chart watch, IPF update

The Hurricanes returned to the practice field Monday without a reserve offensive lineman. Redshirt junior George Brown Jr. was held out of Monday’s practice after suffering a knee injury during Saturday’s scrimmage. The severity of the knee issue is still being determined. “I’m still waiting from [head athletic trainer] Vinny...
Florida linebackers Houston, Miller ready to make up for lost 2017 season
Florida linebackers Houston, Miller ready to make up for lost 2017 season

It’s no secret Florida’s linebackers struggled as a whole in 2017, but it wasn’t due to subpar recruiting of the position. Not one of the four linebackers signed by Randy Shannon and UF’s coaching staff in the 2017 class saw the field last season, leaving the program devoid of depth as the Gators struggled to a 4-7 record. But...
Meet the Hurricanes’ new ‘two-headed monster’ at tight end, freshmen Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory
Meet the Hurricanes’ new ‘two-headed monster’ at tight end, freshmen Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory

Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory do a lot together. As two of the top tight end recruits in the 2018 class, they signed with the Hurricanes together. They enrolled at the University of Miami in May for Summer Session A together. They live together. And they also play together, too, with the Hurricanes expected to utilize a bunch of two-tight-end sets...
Self-controlled, head-down style major reason for Brooks Koepka’s rise
Self-controlled, head-down style major reason for Brooks Koepka’s rise

Tiger Woods did not win the 100th PGA Championship Sunday. It only seems that way. Woods’ 14-under 266 was two strokes shy of winner Brooks Koepka, who staved off the pressure, the roars and the ominous shadow of the most imposing figure in the game to win his third major in the last 14 months. For Koepka, the Jupiter resident, he wouldn&rsquo...
More Stories