A Florida police union is boycotting the Miami Dolphins and the National Football League after players protested during the national anthem last week.
The Broward County Police Benevolent Association urged its union members to toss their tickets in response to the actions of three players on the team. Dolphins receivers Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills took a knee as the national anthem played, and defensive end Robert Quinn raised his clenched fist as a symbol of black power.
The police association’s vice president Rod Skirvin told the Miami Herald that the protests were a "slap in the face" to men and women who put their lives on the line in service of their country. "We have a lot of police officers in the county who are ex-military. It’s not just a slap in the face to our military—past and present—but to all law enforcement officers across the country."
Skirvin told the newspaper that the protests were "disrespectful and disgusting," adding that "as long as the protest continues, we will protest our attendance at the Dolphins games and continue to stay away from the NFL and its products."
South Florida police unions had previously accepted an invitation from the NFL to attend a football game to honor first responders, but they withdrew from the agreement when the NFL said players who protested wouldn’t be punished, despite having announced in May that protests during the national anthem violated the league’s policy.
Supporters of the protests say the players aren’t disrespecting the military or law enforcement, but many former and current police officers disagree. They see the protests of the flag — a dignified symbol of the whole nation — as an affront to those who serve to protect its citizens. When the flag is offered to the family of military personnel who have passed away, it’s an honor. To see it protested, particularly because of false accusations of systemic racism, is offensive.
After the protests, the Broward County police union posted the following statement on Facebook:
The Broward County PBA recently offered our members discounts to a Miami Dolphins game because that franchise said they were going to honor all First Responders. We entered into this partnership with the understanding that the Dolphins organization would require their players to stand for the national anthem. This did not happen at [Thursday’s] preseason game against Tampa Bay. As a result, the BCPBA will no longer participate in this ticket program, and we are asking all of our members, as well as members of the Dade County PBA and Palm Beach County PBA, not to participate either. If you have already purchased tickets to this game, we encourage you to call the Dolphins ticket office to request a refund because this organization obviously does not honor first responders and the dangers they put themselves in every day.
If the NFL decides to penalize players for protesting during the national anthem, the union says it will reconsider its decision.