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Penalties are not the answer for NFL's kneeling issue

Touchdown Wire logo Touchdown Wire 5/22/2018 Michael Colangelo

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Video by Sports Illustrated

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The NFL wants to find an easy answer to a difficult problem and some crazy ideas are apparently being thrown around when it comes to what do with kneeling during the national anthem. Here's a bad idea:

The NFL does this pretty often where they float an idea through their connections in the media. Then they decide whether they will actually implement the idea or say "no, we were never considering that."

If the NFL wants to make this easy, they should simply go back to the way things were in 2009. This was before the NFL took millions of dollars from the federal government to essentially make overt displays of patriotism. The NFL is a great recruiting tool/advertising partner for the armed forces. But before 2009, the NFL didn't have players on the field during the national anthem. It was played for the fans in attendance and then players would come out for the game. That's simple. It's the way things were before. It created much less controversy and it's an easy solution.

Owners are in a jam. If players want to kneel, they will continue to do so. Any restriction could lead to bigger problems within the workforce. NFL owners and players haven't exactly seen eye to eye over the past few years. NFL players are in a position to bring attention to causes they care deeply about. Social causes and protest have been part of sports for a long time - no matter what anyone says that back in the day people would stick to sports. Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, John Carlos, and Tommy Smith are just some obvious names and examples. Their influential protests happened in the late 1960s. Players having social causes isn't new.

Owners also have fans who don't exactly like whats going. They have sponsors who don't want to be intertwined with any controversy, nevermind a controversy in 2019 where almost everything has to be politicized. The simple answer is bring everything back to 2009.

A bad answer is to flag a team 15-yards. What happens with offsetting penalties? Do we count how many players on each team kneeled during the anthem? This brings more attention to people kneeling because the referee will have to announce the penalty. Then 50 percent of the fans who support kneeling will cheer and the other 50 percent who don't support kneeling during the anthem will get angry - and maybe leave the stadium.

Who thought this penalty idea was a good idea? It's not. It creates more problems than it resolves. It punishes an entire team because one or a few players want to make a statement about a cause they believe in. Just go back to 2009. Keep players in the locker room until game time. This will anger some players because they will feel like they are being silenced, but it may be the best worst option for the NFL.

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