NFL Reportedly to Revisit Possible Changes to National Anthem Policy

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold (57), Eric Reid (35) and Marquise Goodwin (11) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, in Houston. President Donald Trump's feud with the NFL about players kneeling during the national anthem is the runaway winner for the top sports story of 2017 in balloting by AP members and editors.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

NFL owners are reportedly planning on discussing potential changes to the league's national anthem policy at the annual league meeting set to begin March 25 in Orlando, Florida. 

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported the news Wednesday, noting some of the owners "regard all options—from leaving the current rules unchanged to enacting a requirement that players stand for the anthem—open for consideration."

According to Maske, there is even some "sentiment" from certain owners to keep players in the locker room until the national anthem is over, which used to happen at NFL games before 2009.

Maske cited sources who suggested a resolution is more likely to come during a May meeting in Atlanta than the upcoming one in March.

The idea of kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protesting police brutality and racial inequality first came to light when quarterback Colin Kaepernick did so as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. However, he didn't play in the league in 2017 and filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners for collusion.

A number of players knelt last season, especially after President Donald Trump weighed in on the topic on his Twitter page and at a rally, saying owners should "get that son of a bitch off the field right now" if a player didn't stand for the anthem.

The subject has made headlines recently, as Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told Christian Red of the New York Daily News on Monday "All of our players will be standing" in 2018.

He then backtracked on those comments, saying "I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued,” per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Elsewhere, Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle wrote of the Houston Texans: "I spoke with two NFL agents this week who said word is the Texans aren't interested in any players who participated in pregame kneel-downs in protest of police brutality."

The team denied the report in a statement, which Amy Palcic of Texans public relations shared:

Amy Palcic @amypalcic

In response to inaccurate reports regarding potential free agent signings... https://t.co/CvI67Y91Uo

Maske noted league owners declined to enact a rule forcing players to stand during the anthem during a meeting in October 2017, although the possibility will reportedly be in play again at the upcoming league meeting.