EXCLUSIVE: Miami-Dade PD struggling to staff Dolphins-Jets game because of anthem protests


Posted: October 19, 2017 5:42 p.m. ET --- Updated: October 19, 2017 8:25 p.m. ET

By: Andy Slater

There is a mad scramble involving Sunday’s Dolphins-Jets game and it’s not happening at either team’s practice.

Miami-Dade police officers are threatening not to sign up to work off-duty for the game at Hard Rock Stadium.

According to multiple sources within the Miami-Dade Police Department, the officers are reacting directly to the players who are protesting social injustice during the national anthem.

As a result, the county may have to offer officers overtime pay or they have may to use on-duty officers to properly staff the football game.

According to my sources, the officers have a big discussion going on where they are saying they should make a stand and not work this game.

They feel as if the protests are solely against police.

Just after 6 p.m. on Thursday, the president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, John Rivera, sent an email to Miami-Dade police officers.

The exclusively-obtained email read in part: "Working the game, or not working the game, is a personal choice and has at the very least the same level of freedom these 'entertainers' claim to express. The irony of all this is that they disrespect the very officers that are there to protect them, the team owners and the property they own. But then again, hypocrisy seems to be rampant these days." 

A spokesperson with the Miami-Dade Police Department issued a statement on Thursday night: "Public safety is the top priority of the Miami-Dade Police Department. We take great pride in coordinating off-regular duty police services for special events in Miami-Dade County and are working diligently on our operational plan for Sunday's NFL game. Any shortfall in volunteer officers does not necessarily indicate that the game will result in less safety.  We are weighing alternate options with our law enforcement and security partners to accomplish the desired outcome."

Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills, and Julius Thomas now protest by staying inside the tunnel during the national anthem. The Dolphins new policy is that everyone who is on the field, must stand.

The three men have said they are protesting all forms of social injustice and police brutality.  They have worked with several police agencies to affect change.  All three Dolphins protesters went to New York to meet with the NFL during the owners' meetings.  Commissioner Roger Goodell came to South Florida to visit with the players while they met with North Miami Police and Broward County Sheriff’s deputies, went on a ride-along, and visited schools.

Still, many officers are cancelling or refusing to work the off-duty assignments for Sunday's game.

The issue has already made its way to the mayor’s office, sources say.

A Dolphins' team source said that "safety is the first priority and the game will be fully staffed."

With kickoff less than 72 hours away, this is an issue that must be resolved immediately.

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(Photo: Reuters)