The NFL is considering a new solution to the anthem protest problem, if players continue to protest through the rest of the season. According to the Washington Post, the NFL will debate a rule change that will keep teams in the locker room during the anthem.
A source told the Washington Post, “I think that if players are still kneeling at the end of the year, then it could very well happen.”
According to the Post, the discussions of the rule change have not been “detailed,” and implementation of the policy is in no way imminent.
The protests, which began in the preseason of 2016 when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem, became widespread in 2017. Peaking in Week 3 of the NFL season after President Trump called protesting players “SOB’s,” and said he wished their team owners would fire them.
Since then the protests have tapered off greatly, though, several players continue to protest by taking a knee or raising a fist.
The league has faced pressure from advertisers, most notably Papa John’s, over concerns that the protests have negatively impacted their business.
Most, if not all college football teams remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem. However, the NFL currently has a rule which requires players to be on the sidelines during the anthem.