As the NFL’s national anthem protests continue, albeit with fewer players participating, police officers have threatened not to work at last Sunday’s Dolphins-Jets game.
Before Sunday’s Oct. 22 game, officers were considering whether to withdraw from game security duty as a way to protest against what they believe is a disrespectful attitude shown by the players, the Miami Herald reported.
About one-third of the officers who typically work such games did not volunteer to participate, in a direct response to the kneeling protests.
Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera told the Miami Herald that the police detail would be the “the minimal amount where they feel safe, but I don’t think they’re going to have the ideal amount.”
Normally about 400 officers are expected for a Dolphins versus Jets game, but Miami-Herald reported that only about 270 worked at the game.
Rivera told the Miami-Herald that the police department had to order many officers to work the game. Those officers also received overtime pay, which is more than the usual off-duty pay that officers normally receive for working games.
On Sunday’s game, no Dolphins knelt during the anthem but players Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills, and Julius Thomas, who had knelt earlier in the season, remained in the locker room during the anthem, Yahoo Sports reported.
All three players had reportedly worked actively with police this season to improve communication and accountability on all sides.
Rivera said the officer’s unwillingness to work could become an issue throughout the rest of the season. He indicated he would be “willing to sit down with [team] owners and maybe the players so we can all understand each other,” the Miami-Herald reported.
Kneeling during the national anthem first started as a way to protest police brutality against minors. But many fans argued whether it was the right time or venue to make a political statement.
Yahoo Sports pointed out that this is not the first time a police organization has used football as a way to protest a player’s own protests.
Earlier this year, Cleveland’s police union threatened not to participate in the national anthem because of Browns players’ demonstrations. The Browns and the police union later reached an agreement, and the police worked the anthem as normal.