Dungy: NFL Needs To Sit Down With Players

A 15-yard penalty for kneeling might not be the NFL's best option

The DA Show
May 23, 2018 - 11:44 am

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The NFL is reportedly mulling a rule change that would penalize players 15 yards for protesting during the national anthem.

Tony Dungy isn't sure if that’s the right way to go. 

“I think the big thing is just go to the players and say, ‘Look, we want to come up with something that alleviates this,’” the Pro Football Hall of Famer said on The DA Show. “A lot of these players really are looking to be the voice for people who don’t have a voice and trying to get some issues out front. They want to make it productive. I think if the league just sits down with these guys and says, ‘Hey, look, we want to do what we can here to get these voices heard and make your points without doing it with the national anthem,’ I think they’ll get it resolved. I think basically all they have to do is say, ‘We don’t want it,’ and I think it’ll pass.”

DA believes the proposed rule change overcomplicates an already complicated issue and that the league would be better off trying to build bridges with the players, not telling them what they can and can’t do.

“I think that’s the big thing,” Dungy said. "When you try to legislate it and say, ‘We can’t do this’ without giving a reason, then it becomes difficult. If your reason is, ‘Hey, it’s going to alienate people,’ players want a little more reason than that. So if you just sit down and say, ‘Hey, look, we can be more effective getting your voice out, let’s look for ways to do this,’ I think they can resolve it.”

Elsewhere in the NFL, Tom Brady is not attending the Patriots’ OTAs. From a football standpoint, this seems largely irrelevant. But from a relationship standpoint, does it suggest there is a rift between Brady and Bill Belichick?

“I don’t know what it suggests,” Dungy said. “We had players toward the end of my run in Indianapolis – we had gone to the playoffs six or seven years in a row, and guys are saying, ‘We’ve had so much time at the facility and so much extra practice (that) we, as veterans, really don’t need these OTAs.’ We came to a compromise. Certain guys would come at certain times, and the young guys who needed it more would be there more. It could just be simply that – that Tom is saying, ‘I’ve put in a lot of football. To be at my best, I need a little break.’

“But what it does look like from the outside – and what you hate to have as a coach – is there’s a little chink in the armor,” Dungy continued. “You always want your leaders and your great players there and around. They know what’s going on on the inside. We can only speculate on the outside. It could be nothing. It could be a combination of both sides saying, ‘This is the best thing to do.’ Or it could be something.”

Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-33 Super Bowl loss to the Eagles in February. He turns 41 in August.