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Dolphins Consider Suspending Protesting Players for as Many as Four Games UPDATED
Photo by George Martinez

Dolphins Consider Suspending Protesting Players for as Many as Four Games UPDATED

Update: The NFL said it was suspending its National Anthem policy five hours after the Dolphins' rule became public. The Dolphins, meanwhile, said the draft report the Associated Press obtained was not final. The team's disciplinary procedure changes are now on hold as the NFL renegotiates its own anthem-protest policy. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross continues to send mixed messages about this whole ordeal:

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The painfully dumb series of events has even led to the president issuing one of his stereotypically inane tweets where he openly begs someone to commit civil-rights violations. Congrats, Fins Nation!

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Accused collegiate rapist
and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for only three games this year for groping an Arizona Uber driver in March 2016.

But somehow, in the twisted, racist, netherworld logic of the NFL, the Miami Dolphins have decided to suspend players for as many as four games if they kneel during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racism in the criminal justice system, according to a draft disciplinary rulebook the Associated Press obtained this afternoon.

The team announced its utterly insane new policy the same day the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union released a massive report outlining how Miami-Dade County's criminal-justice system systemically punishes blacks more harshly than whites for committing the same crimes. After analyzing criminal-justice data from 2010 through 2015, the ACLU found that black defendants have been treated more harshly at every step of the judicial process. The ACLU wrote that blacks in Miami are arrested at higher rates for the same crimes, given fewer pretrial release options, ordered to pay higher bail amounts, are convicted at higher rates, and are given longer sentences once convicted. This is all true even though data shows whites and blacks tend to break the law at roughly the same rates.

The ACLU today reported that black, non-Hispanic Miami-Dade residents are incarcerated at 2.5 times the rate of whites, while black, Hispanic residents are imprisoned at six times the rate of white Miamians.

But if Dolphins players want to protest the policing conditions in their home county, they will be suspended.

Miami Dolphins owner and impossibly wealthy real-estate magnate Stephen Ross told the New York Post earlier this year that he'd banned National Anthem protests for the upcoming NFL season. Then he claimed he was misquoted. The Post then published audio of the interview.

The NFL then officially banned anthem protests May 23 — the league's statement largely left player punishments up to individual teams. Players can technically stay in the locker room during the anthem. (The players' association has, naturally, contested the rule change.)

The Associated Press report is the first glimpse anyone has gotten as to how teams plan to discipline players for breaking a rule that justice-reform advocates call backwards and racist. An anonymous tipster in the Dolphins organization leaked the team's new, nine-page discipline policy that outlines "conduct detrimental to" the Dolphins team. The AP reports that a new "Proper Anthem Conduct" policy says players who protest during the anthem can be fined or suspended no more than four games — which amounts to a fourth of the NFL regular season.

As New Times has noted in the past, studies show that people who hate kneeling players also tend to dislike black people in general. How about that!

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