NFLPA files grievance against NFL's anthem policy

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The NFL Players Association announced Tuesday it filed a grievance against the league's new national anthem policy.

In its statement, the NFLPA said the NFL agreed to hold discussions in hopes of finding a mutual solution to the issue.

The statement in full reads:

Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL's recently imposed anthem policy. The union's claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL's governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.

In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon.

In May, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the league would enact a national anthem policy for 2018 that requires players and league personnel on the sideline to stand but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they don't want to stand. Under the change approved by team owners, individual clubs would have the power to set their own policies to ensure the anthem is being respected during any on-field action.

The change comes after players throughout the league chose not to stand during the anthem prior to the start of games during the 2017 season. The protests, which started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem to draw awareness to issues of social inequality against minorities, became a central issue for the NFL after President Donald Trump criticized the movement during a speech last September, stating players should be fired for not standing.

Off the field, the league has made a push to address social issues important to players. Working in conjunction with the Players Coalition, the league stepped up its efforts to support players on social issues important to them, dedicating $89 million to efforts combating social inequality.

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