If some Miami Dolphins players continue to protest the national anthem by kneeling, they may have to look for team security elsewhere.
That’s because the head of the Broward County Sheriff’s union has called for all police escorts to end for the team until they opt to stand during the national anthem.
In a letter sent Friday, Jeffery Bell demanded that there be an “immediate” end of all team-sponsored escorts and that the players be punished for their actions:
As a law enforcement union, we certainly encourage people to exercise their constitutional right of freedom of speech. However, in certain professions, an individual’s freedom of speech must take a back seat to the organization or government entity that they choose to represent.
Bell was spurred into action after four Dolphins players, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Jelani Jenkins and Kenny Stills, all knelt during the anthem at last Sunday’s game against the Seahawks in Seattle.
“I can not fathom why the Miami Dolphin organization and the NFL would allow the blatant disrespect of the American flag and what it stands for during the national anthem, “Bell said. “It is a privilege to play in the NFL, not a given constitutional right.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross stated Sunday that he stands behind his players.
“I don’t think it was any lack of respect,” Ross stated. “I think everybody here, our team and our whole organization, respects the flag and what it stands for, the soldiers and everything. These guys are really making a conversation of something that’s a very important topic in this country and I’m 100 percent supportive of them.”
Bell adds that police are putting themselves at risk protecting the players:
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Local 6020 is seeking the immediate termination of all Miami Dolphin escorts until such time the Miami Dolphins and the National Football League set forth a policy that will not tolerate the disrespect of the American Flag and National Anthem during any sanctioned games or events. We no longer support an organization that values financial profit over a minimum conduct standard. What good is it to ask singers to sing the national anthem, honor guards to perform services or ask the United States Air Force to conduct fly overs during the National Anthem if the same organization will not even set a minimum code of conduct for its players? Until further notice, I respectfully ask all members of law enforcement not to work any detail associated with the Miami Dolphins unless ordered to do so.
Before the Dolphins game Sunday against the New England Patriots, Foster, Sills and Thomas continued their anthem protest while Jelani Jenkins chose to stand.