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NFL Shelves Anthem Punishment Policy

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The NFL has hit the pause but on its new anthem policy.

In May, NFL owners adopted a new anthem rule which stated that players must stand or remain in the locker room until kickoff. The league said at the time it would fine any team with players who did not comply.

Late Thursday, the league and the players' union released a joint statement saying no new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks.

The decision came just two days after Tennessee Titans star Jurrell Casey said he would protest on the sideline during the national anthem and pay whatever fine necessary.

"Around the NFL, guys are definitely not happy about it," said Casey about the policy which stated that players must either "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem" or remain out of public view in the locker room.

"I feel it's not right, I don't think it was a good decision for the NFL to come up with that ruling. But they have their reasons for what they've done."

"I'm going to take a fine this year, why not?" added Casey, the first NFL player to express his desire to protest despite the rules. "I'm going to protest during the flag."

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the Miami Dolphins had included protesting during the anthem on their list of issues that fall under the umbrella of conduct detrimental to the team, which left the door open for the team to suspend protesting players up to four games.

Multiple sources say that submission by the team was merely part of an annual filing required of every team before the start of training camp.

Friday afternoon, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tweeted out a statement that read, "We were asked to submit a form to the NFL on our overall discipline policy prior to the start of the rookie report date. The one line sentence related to the national anthem was a placeholder as we haven't made a decision on what we would do, if anything, at that point. I'm pleased that the NFL and the NFLPA are taking a pause to figure out a resolution on this issue.  I am passionate about social justice, and through the Miami Dolphins and creation of RISE, will continue to use the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress."

The anthem controversy has been rumbling on since 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.

The row ratcheted up a notch in 2017 when US President Donald Trump said players' kneeling showed "total disrespect for our great country."

The NFL regular season starts on Thursday, September 6th.

(©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)

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