- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2018

The National Football League put on hold Thursday its policy requiring players on the field to stand for the national anthem.

In a statement, the league said it was engaged in “confidential” talks with the NFL Players Association to resolve a grievance the union had filed last week against the league.

“In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy,” the NFL said in its statement. “No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.”

The union also agreed not to engage in litigation over the new rule, issued in May, that said players who “do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem” can be fined.

“Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation,” the NFL statement said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the statement countermands team rules, such as that issued earlier Thursday by the Miami Dolphins, saying players who disrespected the flag or anthem could be suspended for up to four games — a quarter of the season.

NFL players began kneeling en masse during the “Star-Spangled Banner” last season, sparked by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick doing so to protest the police and racism.

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