NFL considers proposed 15-yard penalty for kneeling, report says

NFL owners, during a meeting Tuesday, reportedly considered a new punishment for players who choose to kneel during the national anthem: a 15-yard penalty against the team.

Under the proposal, the home team would decide whether both sides should be on the field during the Star Spangled Banner -- and if so, 15-yard penalties could be handed out if anyone kneels, Sports Illustrated reported.

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The report did not indicate who made the proposal, and it was unclear how much support or opposition it received. 

"As always, conversations at league meetings are candid, thoughtful and thorough. The clubs explore every option and idea on any policy, and discuss the merits and drawbacks of each approach. We will continue the conversation this morning," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

The proposal would represent a notably different response from the NFL after a wave of national anthem protests, which were started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

During the 2016-2017 NFL season, Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem as part of a protest against police brutality. The hotly contested move was later adapted by other players as well, including former teammate Eric Reid.

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After the kneeling triggered fierce debates across the country, and criticism from President Trump, the league moved to pay nearly $100 million to social justice causes supported by some players, despite critics' claims that it was meant purely to appease activist athletes.

NFL players reportedly defended Kaepernick and slammed league owners during an October meeting in New York City, demanding to know why the former 49ers player was, they believed, being blackballed.

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce, Greg Norman and Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.