ATLANTA – Taking a knee for the National Anthem could be a 15-yard penalty soon.
According to Sports Illustrated, NFL owners discussed the issue at length Tuesday, proposing a possible disincentive to the controversial stance.
“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.”
Two weeks ago, the NFL players’ union filed a grievance on behalf of free agent safety Eric Reid, one of the first players who chose to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick wasn’t signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco. Reid continued the quarterback’s protests.
Kaepernick deposed several league owners and executives, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, in his grievance. Reid is using the same attorneys as Kaepernick.
The NFLPA cites one team appearing “to have based its decision not to sign a player based on the player’s statement that he would challenge the implementation of a club’s policy prohibiting demonstration” during the national anthem.
League policy does not prohibit demonstrating during the anthem. Referring to the labor agreement with the league, the union notes that NFL rules supersede any conflicting club rules.
The union also says “at least one club owner has asked pre-employment interview questions about a player’s intent to demonstrate. We believe these questions are improper, given league policy.”
In March, Goodell was asked about Reid, one of the better players at his position in the NFL, not having a job.
“I’ve said this repeatedly to you: The 32 teams make individual decisions on the players who are going to best help their franchises,” Goodell said. “Those are decisions they have to make. They do that every day in the best interest of winning. Teams make those decisions. I’m not directly involved with that.”
Last month, Kaepernick praised Reid for continuing to make a stand for social justice when the quarterback was presented an Amnesty International award in Amsterdam.
“Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy,” Kaepernick said. “But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career.”