NFL players union files grievance over national anthem policy: ‘Infringes on player rights’

NFL players union files grievance over national anthem policy: ‘Infringes on player rights’
The NFL Players Association, led by executive director DeMaurice Smith, filed a grievance against the NFL, challenging the new national anthem policy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

The seemingly never-ending national anthem-related drama in the NFL isn’t over yet, as the players union filed a grievance Tuesday against the league, challenging its new policy of requiring players on the field to stand during the anthem, according to The Hill.

The policy, which has been criticized by players, observers, and even President Donald Trump, gives players and league personnel the option to either stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room.

“Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL’s recently imposed anthem policy,” an NFLPA statement read. “The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”

What’s the problem?

The NFL Players Association was upset with the policy immediately after it was announced because the union was allegedly not present for the discussions that led to its creation.

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy,'” an NFLPA statement from May read. “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.”

The policy requires all team and league personnel on the field to “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” and amends the NFL Game Operations Manual to remove the requirement that all players be on the field during the anthem. Teams will be fined if their personnel stay on the field for the anthem and don’t stand.

What will happen now?

The NFLPA said in its statement that it is willing to have discussions with the league about the policy before turning this into a legal battle.

“In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation,” the statement read. “The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon.”