Football

Could kneeling for the U.S. flag produce a penalty flag? NFL weighing it, report says

Colin Kaepernick, center, kneels with Eli Harold, left, and Eric Reid during the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers' game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 2, 2016, in Santa Clara.
Colin Kaepernick, center, kneels with Eli Harold, left, and Eric Reid during the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers' game against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 2, 2016, in Santa Clara. Sacramento Bee file

Kneeling during the honoring of the flag could get NFL players a flag under a new rule that is being weighed.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that NFL owners discussed the possibility during the spring meeting held in Atlanta.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Per sources, one anthem idea being discussed: Leaving it up to home team on whether teams come out for the anthem; if teams do come out for the anthem, potential that teams could be assessed 15-yard penalties for kneeling.</p>&mdash; Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) <a href="https://twitter.com/AlbertBreer/status/999017170704240642?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 22, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Breer reported the possibility of a 15-yard penalty if players kneel, and that home teams could dictate whether teams are to be on the sidelines while the anthem plays. What's not clear is when the penalty would be assessed.

Several people have already spoken out against the idea.

Kneeling and other forms of silent protest during the national anthem became prominent in August 2016, when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat while "The Star-Spangled Banner" played before a preseason game. Kaepernick later opted to kneel instead. He has not played in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, and he and the team parted ways in March 2017.

Former 49ers safety Eric Reid, who often knelt with Kaepernick, is currently not on an NFL roster. Both Kaepernick and Reid have filed grievances against the league. The 49ers have said they would consider re-signing Reid, who is a free agent.

Also at the meeting Tuesday:

The league unanimously passed David Tepper's $2.2 billion purchase of the Carolina Panthers from Jerry Richardson.

Players who hit with their helmets could be kicked out of the game, pending video reviews.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  Comments