Sports journalists are outraged at this NFL punishment suggested for anthem kneelers

Sports journalists are outraged at this NFL punishment suggested for anthem kneelers
The NFL owners were reportedly considering a 15-yard penalty as punishment for those who would kneel as a protest during the national anthem. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Some sports journalists were outraged at an idea being floated at an NFL meeting to punish players who might kneel during the national anthem before each game.

Here’s the controversial suggestion

According to Sports Illustrated, owners were considering the suggestion that home teams would be allowed to choose whether both teams were allowed to line up for the national anthem, but then would be subject to a 15-yard penalty if anyone kneeled in protest.

The suggestion was reportedly made during a three-hour meeting about the subject of national anthem protesting, which became a controversy that engulfed the football league during the 2017 season.

Even President Donald Trump weighed in on the protests during a September rally in Pennsylvania. After he excoriated players who participated in the demonstrations, the protests exploded in number the next Sunday, with many players citing his criticism for their change of heart.

What was the response?

The suggestion was not greeted warmly by many sports journalists, some of whom responded on social media.

Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN registered his displeasure with the idea:

As did CBS Sports columnist Gary Parrish:

And Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde:

Most recently, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) joined the chorus of people opining that Colin Kaepernick, who began the kneeling protest, should be allowed to play on an NFL team.

Many believe owners have shied away from signing the former 49ers quarterback over fear of the political blowback that would almost certainly accompany such a move.