"I can not fathom why the Miami Dolphin organization and the NFL would allow the blatant disrespect of the American Flag and what it stands for during the national anthem," said Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association, in a Facebook post. "We no longer support an organization that values financial profit over a minimum conduct standard."
At yesterday's game against the Patriots, three Dolphins player kneeled, continuing their silent protest of the flag and national anthem. But tensions between South Florida players and police will come to a head at next weekend's home game against the Cleveland Browns. It will be the first time the Broward cop union is scheduled to escort players to the stadium. "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 [as] the Miami Dolphin organization mandates a code of conduct for their players during all sanctioned events."
In a September 11 statement posted by the Miami Dolphins, the team explained that it will not force players to stand during the national anthem: "We encourage all members of our organization to stand at attention during the national anthem out of respect and appreciation for the freedoms we are afforded as Americans. We also recognize that it's an individual's right to reflect during the anthem in different ways."
According to Bell, the team-sponsored escorts include blocking intersections to ensure that players and their families arrive to the game on time. "These escorts often involve putting the men and women of law enforcement agencies at risk as they block intersections during peak traffic times in order to expedite the travel time between facilities. We have buried coworkers who have unnecessarily lost their lives protecting the lives of individuals. Some law enforcement officers even lost their lives while protecting the lives of the very same individuals who were protesting against law enforcement."
In the meantime, the Miami Police say they will continue to serve the Dolphins regardless of their stance during the anthem. They told the Miami Herald that they “have contractual obligations with Hard Rock Stadium to provide public safety. The safety of our residents and visitors is our primary concern.”