Public unions distort the accountability mechanisms in place in government, and sometimes succeed in eliminating them all together via their contracts. Police unions illustrate this when they appear to operate outside of the legal chain of command in spats like the one over football players standing for the national anthem, leaving the question of to whose authority exactly police officers are subject to an open one. But what public unions are doing here is not an exception to the way that they operate vis a vis public policy and government accountability and transparency, but the rule.
The police union in Broward County argues that the Dolphins should require players to stand for the national anthem. "I respect their right to have freedom of speech," Jeffrey Bell, president of the local International Union of Police Associations, told the Miami Herald. "However, in certain organizations and certain jobs you give up that right of your freedom of speech temporary while you serve that job or while you play in an NFL game."
Bell's acknowledgement would better apply to police officers, who are government employees and public servants, than football players, who largely work for privately-held companies under the terms of a mutually agreed upon labor contract and their own individual contracts.