The Dolphins could suspend players for kneeling during the national anthem

For the Miami Dolphins, the NFL’s anthem policy isn’t enough. The team is going a step farther in punishing players who kneel during the national anthem. According to the Associated Press, a team discipline document now includes a section on “Proper Anthem Conduct.”

It classifies anthem protests under a large list of ”conduct detrimental to the club,” all of which could lead to a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine or both.

Punishment for players can be up to four games, the Associated Press reported. However, it’s rare for players to be suspended for that long.

It’s so rare that when Dolphins player Phillip Merling was arrested and charged with assaulting his pregnant girlfriend in 2010, he wasn’t suspended a single game. 

NFL owners passed their national anthem rule in May, which prohibits players from taking a knee during the song. The players who disobey and kneel are subject to fines, as are their teams.

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NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem
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NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players kneel before the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears players kneel in the end zone prior to their game the Green Bay Packers against before the national anthem at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Fans hold up an American flag during national anthem prior to the game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; The Green Bay Packers link arms during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12), tight end Richard Rodgers (82) and wide receiver Davante Adams (17) link arms during the National Anthem prior to their game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars players stand during the national anthem before their NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel before the national anthem before their NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Oct 1, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) and linebacker Steve Longa (54) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Members of the Cleveland Browns raise their fists during the national anthem before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players take the knee before the start of the national anthem Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Oct 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots players stand together for the U.S. National Anthem before their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S., October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
The New England Patriots players stand together for the U.S. National Anthem before their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S., October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 01: The Pittsburgh Steelers stand on the field during the National Anthem on October 1, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oct 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and free safety Darian Stewart (26) react along with teammates during the American national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and free safety Darian Stewart (26) and cornerback Aqib Talib (21) and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) react along with teammates during the American national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Buffalo Bills players shown during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Dolphins owner Steve Ross commented in March that “All of our players will be standing” for the anthem. He told the New York Daily News that he initially supported what the players were trying to accomplish by kneeling, but he then began to feel that the players were kneeling to protest against “support of our country or the military,” despite the players explicitly saying that was not the case.

Ross also said he was influenced by President Donald Trump’s comments against the players kneeling.

The day after his comments were published in the Daily News, Ross walked back what he said and clarified that he didn’t intend to force Dolphins players to stand.

Technically Ross isn’t forcing Dolphins players to stand, but he’s making it extremely painful if they decide to do otherwise.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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