In the wake of several NFL teams and players staging protests during the national anthem, an international police union has decided to take a stand, too — by picking and choosing which citizens it will protect.
According to the Miami Herald, the International Union of Police Associations, Local 6020, is urging Broward County Florida’s deputies to refuse police escort services to the Miami Dolphins until the team forces its players to stand for the national anthem.
Four players from the hometown team sparked outrage last week when they took a knee during the singing of the national anthem at their season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Their protest was inspired by San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” to speak out against police brutality and racial injustice in America.
“We’ve asked the deputies and the Broward Sheriff’s Office not to do the (escort) details anymore,” said Jeffery Bell, president of the local IUPA. “I respect [the players’] right to have freedom of speech. However, in certain organizations and certain jobs, you give up that right of your freedom of speech temporarily while you serve that job or while you play in an NFL game.”
Dolphins running back Arian Foster took a knee alongside teammates Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas and Jelani Jenkins during last week’s game — which happened to fall on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Critics of the players’ protest argued it wasn’t the time or the place for such a “disrespectful” and unpatriotic demonstration.
“They say it’s not time to do this. Then when is the time?” Foster said. “It’s never the time in someone else’s eye.”
Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racial injustice has since influenced other NFL players to stage demonstrations during the national anthem, including Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, who took a knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner” at last Friday’s game against the Carolina Panthers; and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters who kneeled alongside his teammates with his glove-clad fist raised high into the air.
The players’ public protests have sparked outrage among die-hard fans, service members and law enforcement personnel.
“I can only imagine the public outcry if a group of police officers refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or if we turned our back for the American flag for the national anthem,” Bell said. “There would be a public outcry and internal affairs complaints a mile long on that.”
According to the Miami Herald, three of the four Dolphins players who took a knee during the Sept. 11 game were expected to stand during the anthem at their game against the New England Patriots this past weekend. Foster, Stills and Thomas continued kneeling, however, as Jenkins bowed out of the protest.
There is no word on whether the Broward County Sheriff’s office will heed the IUPA’s request. The Miami-Dade Police Department, which also provides security for the Dolphins, said it is under “contractual obligations” and will continue ensuring the safety of players and fans at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Herald reports.
“The safety of our residents and visitors is our primary concern,” the Miami-Dade PD said.