On Wednesday, the Board of Directors of United States Soccer voted to allow players the option NOT to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Although the league put the mandate in place to block Team USA captain Megan Rapinoe from kneeling during the national anthem, the board has reviewed its decision and made the reversal. Team USA made headlines when Rapinoe and her team kneeled during the anthem at the National Women’s Soccer League game in support of Colin Kaepernick’s campaign to end police brutality and racial inequality.
At the time, Rapinoe empathized with Kaepernick for taking a stand against racism. She also understood the backlash he received for doing something he felt was morally right.
“It is overtly racist,” Rapinoe stated, speaking about how some people attacked Kaepernick. “And quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling. The very least that I can do is continue the conversation with him by kneeling for the anthem.”
In the time since U.S. Soccer decided to force players to stand during the anthem, they have reviewed their snap decision and realized it was wrong. They’ve released a statement recognizing their mistake and asserting their view that Black lives matter.
“It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.”
When the mandate for players to stand during the anthem was made, the U.S. women’s national team demanded it be revoked. They released the following statement:
“The Federation should immediately repeal the ‘Anthem Policy,’ publish a statement acknowledging the policy was wrong when it was adopted, and issue an apology to our Black players and supporters. Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement it tried to silence four years ago.”
Now that the Black Lives Matter movement has gained popularity among the majority of Americans, U.S. Soccer has reversed its mandate and apologized.
“We have not done enough to listen—especially to our players—to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country. We apologize to our players—especially our Black players—staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism. Sports are a powerful platform for good, and we have not used our platform as effectively as we should have. We can do more on these specific issues, and we will.”
Like U.S. Soccer, the National Football League has also apologized.
“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
But this was not good for all because Goodell did not mention Kaepernick. Many accused the NFL and team owners of blacklisting Kaepernick for the protest.
What do you think about U.S. Soccer’s stand on protests during the national anthem?