July 10 (UPI) — The National Football League Players Association filed a grievance Tuesday on behalf of all players, challenging the NFL’s new national anthem policy.
“Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL’s recently imposed anthem policy,” the NFLPA said in a news release.
“The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced in May that the league would institute a new policy for the 2018 season which required players and league personnel to either stand for the national anthem or stay in the locker room during the pregame rendition. Teams will be fined if a player or other personnel do not stand and “show respect for the flag and the anthem,” according to a statement on the anthem from Goodell.
“In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA executive committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation,” the NFPLA said. “The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon.”
The NFL has 10 days to respond to the grievance.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the 2016 preseason, protesting police brutality and racial inequality. Since then, scores of other athletes have taken knees, raised fists and locked arms during the anthem before NFL games.
Kaepernick opted out of the final year of his contract with the 49ers in 2017. He has yet to sign with a new team. The six-year NFL veteran filed a grievance case against the league in October under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, accusing teams of collusion that has denied him of a job.