The NFL has been trying to figure out ways to deal with the player protests that have taken place during the National Anthem, and a return to a previous policy might be on the table. The Washington Post is reporting that if the protests continue through the end of the season, owners are considering returning to the policy where teams stay in the locker room through the Anthem.
Prior to 2009, teams went back to the locker room after pre-game warmups, and remained there through the Anthem. They technically could come out during the Anthem as far as I can tell, but generally teams remained in the locker room.
Previously the NFL has talked about wanting to work with the players to address the topics they are raising with their protests. It remains to be seen what else would happen with this, but as is often the case with the NFL, this action seems only to serve the hope of getting people to forget about the issue and move on.
The situation of Eric Reid is a perfect example of the league trying to ignore the actual important issues involved. Prior to the bye week, Reid said that NFL VP Troy Vincent was no longer responding to their conversations. In ESPN’s deep dive into the protests and the relationship between the players and the league, we learned that Vincent was not pleased with Reid continuing to kneel, and that Reid shouldn’t "bother to show up" if he continued.
This all seems to suggest the NFL is simply hoping this will go away. It’s not a surprising development, but it remains disappointing. The NFL has attempted to sell itself as a moral beacon in spite of repeated actions that suggest it has no real idea what it’s doing.