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NFL’s Proposed National Anthem Rules: Penalties for Kneeling Being Considered

The league continues to grapple with how to handle players demonstrating during the national anthem

ATLANTA — On Tuesday, NFL owners put three hours aside for a privileged session to speak—amongst themselves and family members—about the most sensitive of topics.

One was how the league will handle players kneeling during the national anthem going forward. 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 is currently being sued by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, with the two unsigned free agents alleging that NFL teams colluded to keep them unemployed. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, to protest police brutality, starting a trend that swept across the league in 2016 and '17.

The NFL addressed the anthem 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.

According to sources, the owners also discussed how to move forward its partnership with the players and finalized the terms of the deal.

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