Solving the league's national anthem protests is high on NFL owners' list of priorities at the owners' meetings this week in Atlanta, and one reported possibility is almost too ridiculous to comprehend.
According to MMQB's Albert Breer, one possible solution being discussed is that the home team decides whether the clubs come out of the locker room for the anthem. OK, seems harmless enough.
But wait: The second part of Breer's report indicates that for games in which players will be on the field, they could be subject to 15-yard penalties for those who kneel during the anthem.
That'll surely help unify fans and players on this polarizing topic.
Apparently, the NFL forgot what happened with the Pittsburgh Steelers and LT Alejandro Villanueva, the Army veteran who was the lone Steeler to stand outside the club's locker room last season prior to a Week 3 game at Soldier Field in Chicago. Sadly, he later felt compelled to express remorse and shoulder the blame for the bad optics associated with his decision, or misunderstanding, as he called it.
How will players who choose to protest in this way be received by their teammates when penalties are at stake? How will coaches handle players who want to protest, now knowing it could directly affect their teams' chances in games?
No topic covered this week will be more controversial than how the league handles players who choose to kneel as a form of protest before the national anthem. The issue began in 2016, when then-49ers QB Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to protest social injustices including police brutality. Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid have since sued the league, claiming that their unemployment is the result of NFL owners colluding because of their protests, not their ability to play football.
But teams and players clearly remain far apart on how to handle protests. Adopting this new rule would only cause the already troubling divide to increase significantly.