Players kneeling during the national anthem and what to do about it might be the most sensitive topic of discussion at this week’s NFL Owners Spring meeting in Atlanta, although it’s not even officially on the slate. On Tuesday, those owners gave a glimpse into how big a hot button issue it really is.
According to SI.com, three hours were set aside for team owners to speak amongst themselves about the touchiest of subjects, and how the league will handle anthem protests going forward was at the top of the list. One idea reportedly being floated was penalizing teams for kneeling. The proposal suggested it would be up to the home team on whether both teams would come out of the locker room for the anthem, and, should teams come out, 15-yard penalties could be assessed for kneeling.
The league touched on the issue at its meetings in October and March, with plans to further discuss it at this meeting. The league also met with the Players Coalition in October, and agreed to a seven-year, $89 million social justice partnership to address such matters. Discussions on the protests are expected to continue through the week.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the anthem protests when he took a knee during its playing before a preseason game in 216. Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid are currently suing the NFL, alleging the league colluded to keep them from being signed by other teams after they were released.