While the NFL hasn't taken any formal action to prevent players from kneeling in protest during the national anthem, the Cincinnati Bengals franchise is reportedly making sure none of its players participate in that form of protest, according to Pro Football Talk.
What's the story?
Free agent defensive back Eric Reid, the first player to join former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, met with the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday to discuss a potential signing.
During the meeting, Reid met personally with Bengals owner Mike Brown, and the discussion between Reid and Brown was reportedly almost exclusively about the topic of anthem kneeling.
According to the report, Brown asked Reid what his response was to the Bengals planning to prohibit kneeling during the anthem, and Reid refused to commit one way or the other, despite saying last month that he doesn't plan to protest during the anthem next season.
At the end of Reid's visit with the team, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis gave Reid one more chance to be clear on his national anthem stance, but Reid still did not want to certainly say he would not protest just because Brown asked.
The team's statement
The Bengals did not want to comment specifically on the meeting with Reid when asked by Pro Football Talk: “The Club conducts many interviews with players throughout the year. The Club views these interviews as confidential and does not comment on them.”
Hypocrisy by the Bengals?
The story on Pro Football Talk notes that the Bengals have a history of taking on players with disciplinary or criminal issues, implying that it may be hypocritical to take on domestic abusers or drug users while rejecting a peaceful protester:
Over the years, the Bengals have looked the other way on a variety of actual and alleged criminal activities when signing, drafting, and/or keeping players. When it comes to one specific type of conduct that is neither illegal nor a violation of any applicable rule or provision of the relationship between the NFL and its players, that could be where Bengals owner Mike Brown draws the line.