June 11 – The US Soccer Federation, under pressure from both men’s and women’s players, has overturned its ban on taking a knee during the national anthem in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The rule was introduced in 2017 after women’s star Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who began the movement in protest against racial injustice – much to the irritation of Donald Trump.
US Soccer’s board made its decision during a conference call saying the requirement for national team players to stand during the national anthem was wrong.
The previous policy stated as follows. “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.”
But in a statement Wednesday U.S. Soccer backed down.
“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,” it said.
“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.”
The original decision to ban the gesture, it went on, “was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.”
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