The NFLPA said Wednesday it will not file a formal grievance against players for kneeling and raising their fists during the national anthem before games, a move that would be unprecedented for a labor union.
The move would be a reversal of decades of NFL rules that have permitted players to sit or stand during the anthem to protest racial injustice and inequality.
But the NFLPA is still in the process of crafting a grievance and the union would not say how it plans to proceed.
The union had argued the players were exercising their First Amendment right to protest, and that the action was protected by the First Amendment.
The NFL had countered that the players had chosen to stand up for the anthem because they believed it was a symbol of freedom and equality.
The players’ union has not yet decided how it will respond to the NFL’s request for a formal settlement.
NFLPA spokesman Jeff Pash said in a statement that the union has “no intention of filing a grievance.”
“We will not make a final decision until we receive the formal resolution from the union and have a chance to discuss it with our players,” he said.
“Our players will continue to kneel, raise their fists and make our voices heard during the playing of the national anthems.
This is a fundamental aspect of the anthem.
The league has no choice but to resolve the issue.”
The NFL has been in the middle of a contentious national debate about racial justice and police brutality, including the deaths of two African-Americans at the hands of police.
The issue has been a key issue in President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, with Trump repeatedly calling for a national boycott of NFL games and for teams to fire players who kneel during the pregame anthem.
In the end, Trump’s campaign did not make any changes to the league’s policy regarding kneeling.
He has also suggested that he would not fire the head coach of the Chicago Bears who did not stand during last week’s anthem protest.
The decision comes as tensions rise in the country following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Minnesota.
The death of Philando Castile, 32, on Thursday, spurred protests across the country and led to demonstrations in some cities, including Atlanta and Baton Rouge.
The protests have continued as violence between police and protesters has continued.
The White House has called on police officers to respect the rights of the people.
But police in the United States have been under increased scrutiny for use of force.
A federal investigation of the use of excessive force by police in 2016 found that officers shot at or tackled suspects without cause and killed a Black man at the end of a traffic stop.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.