Heading into this week’s league meetings in Atlanta, one of the biggest questions was how, if at all, the NFL would attempt to address players protesting during the national anthem. According to a report from Albert Breer at Sports Illustrated, one of the ideas that was discussed was potential 15-yard penalties for any player that is kneeling if the teams decide to come out of the locker room for the anthem. From the report:
“An idea being floated in the room goes like this: It would be up to the home team on whether both teams come out of the locker room for the anthem, and, should teams come out, 15-yard penalties could be assessed for kneeling.”
The league hasn’t made any decision on the proposal as of yet, but it is a topic on which a significant amount of time was spent. In related news, the league did agree to a pact with the Players Coalition to provide at least $90 million to programs combating social inequality.
The original reason behind the protest, as voiced by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was to bring awareness to oppression and injustice in the United States. Several players continued Kaepernick’s protest throughout last season and the league has been looking for various ways to try and work with its players to address the grievances they have.
Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid have both filed lawsuits against the league alleging collusion among the owners to keep them out of the league due to the protests. Both lawsuits are still pending.