After four Miami Dolphins players made the decision to kneel during the Star-Spangled Banner in a Week 1 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, a local sheriff’s union in South Florida is asking the Broward County Sheriff’s Department to suspend details protecting the team.
In a statement issued by Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Local 6020, president Jeff Bell stated the following (the full excerpt can be read here courtesy of Armando Salguero and the Miami Herald):
Today, I contacted the executive board of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Local 6020 in reference to the actions of a few Miami Dolphin players. 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. Even the NFL’s governing body and the ownership of individual teams set strict policies in order to make sure players represent the league in the most professional way.
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. Again, I would also respectfully ask the Broward Sheriff’s Office to refuse any security details associated with the Miami Dolphins until such time the Miami Dolphin organization mandates a code of conduct for their players during all sanctioned events.
Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills, Arian Foster and Michael Thomas all kneeled on Sunday. And while Foster has maintained that he’ll continue kneeling, Jenkins said that he would not in an essay for Time magazine. Stills and Thomas still currently remain undecided.
The actually Broward Sheriff’s Office has not issued comment as to whether they plan to honor the union’s request at the time of publishing.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross defended the players’ right to protest this weekend. The club hasn’t made a comment about the union’s request.