After Dolphins' PR circus, NFL suspends any anthem protest punishment

Dolphins' anthem protest (courtesy: Sun-Sentinel)

The Miami Dolphins made national headlines Thursday - they were the first NFL team to have their guidelines revealed as to how they will punish players for kneeling during the national anthem.

But while it seems their rule was full of sound and fury, it's currently signifying nothing.

The Associated Press got its hands on the Dolphins new team conduct policy Thursday afternoon, and out of it came a big headline - "Dolphins Anthem Protesters can Get 4 Game Bans".

The way the Dolphins policy is worded - in a section called "Proper Anthem Conduct" - protesting during the national anthem is considered "conduct detrimental to the club".

And doing something that is considered conduct detrimental to the team, could lead to a suspension of up to 4 games.

All teams were forced by the NFL to create an anthem policy before training camp started. Turns out, the Dolphins were just the unlucky first team to have theirs leaked.

Immediately after this came out, a number of outlets reported that the policy was a work in progress, and a suspension of four games, is definitely not on the table.

But then late Tuesday night, the NFL and the NFL Players Association released a joint statement saying that there will be no enforcement of any anthem-related punishment, until the two groups have reached an agreement on the best way to handle the anthem issue.

So all this is on hold now. The 31 other teams will avoid a PR circus. But it came too late to save the Dolphins.