Critics are calling foul on a new rule being proposed by NFL owners to try and discourage players from kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
Sports Illustrated reported that NFL owners considered the idea of having the home team decide whether both teams would be on the field for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” or remain in their respective locker rooms. If the teams chose to come out, a team would be assessed a 15-yard penalty if any of their players protested during the anthem.
Needless to say, the idea was met with a collective “WTF?” by journalists who cover sports for a living:
Don Van Natta Jr.
OK, here it is: The worst idea. https://twitter.com/AlbertBreer/status/999017170704240642 …
The #NFL still doesn’t understand the players aren’t protesting the anthem – it’s a shame the NFL won’t use its influence to try to make things better for young black men & women in America. This is a joke.
I hope the NFL isn’t spending much time on this idea. Because it’s a dumb idea. https://twitter.com/AlbertBreer/status/999017170704240642 …
By the time we’re done we’ll have a 5-yard kneeling, a 15-yard kneeling, and 30 minutes of replay before opening kickoff so the refs can determine if there was any flagrant kneeling that would result in a suspension https://twitter.com/AlbertBreer/status/999017170704240642 …
And if members of both teams kneel, offsetting penalties so neither team is penalized. Purpose defeated.
Two players who were among the first to take a knee during the 2016 season — Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid — are now free agents. They have filed separate lawsuits against the NFL claiming owners colluded to keep them off of a team because of their history of protests.