MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The NFL national anthem controversy is raising concerns about whether there will be enough uniformed police officers at Sunday’s Dolphins-Jets game at Hard Rock Stadium.
When NFL players began kneeling or locking arms during the national anthem it was just a handful.
The demonstrations ballooned when President Donald Trump cursed them, spreading across the league to include even team owners taking a knee.
Now the protest is meeting protest.
“Gary, this is a real issue,” said Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera.
Miami-Dade’s police union confirms officers are refusing to volunteer to work Hard Rock Stadium Sunday when the Fins host the Jets.
“We need around 380 officers – 175 have currently signed up. So between now and Sunday, they’re going to need to find over 200 officers to sign up,” Rivera explained.
Offended cops say it all has to do with respect.
“This whole movement started against police officers,” Rivera said. “And now it’s morphed into disrespecting the flag and the country.”
Miami-Dade Police released a statement, saying, “Any shortfall in volunteer officers doesn’t necessarily mean that the game will result in less safety.”
But to staff the rock Sunday, the department will apparently have to reach out to other agencies, saying, “We are weighing alternate options with our law enforcement security partners.”
At the Doral Ale House, cops boycotting the NFL got mixed reviews.
“I think the same way as they do. I would do the same thing,” said sports fan Miguel Roca.
“If you were a police officer?” CBS4’s Gary Nelson asked for clarification.
“Yes, yes,” Roca responded.
Leticia D’Fana looked at it another way.
“That’s their job. Me, I have to work. I can’t just call and say, ‘I can’t go because I believe in this,’ because they’ll fire me,” she said.
In any event, there may be reconciliation on the horizon as NFL players and teams have tried to ratchet down the on-field expressions of social protest.