June 15 – US president Donald Trump has vowed to give up watching football after the US Soccer Federation adopted a new policy that rescinds a requirement for players to stand during the national anthem.
Republican congressman Matt Gaetz criticised the USSF’s decision on social media and Trump responded by tweeting that “I won’t be watching much any more.”
In a statement, US Soccer wrote: “The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors voted yesterday afternoon to repeal Policy 604-1, which required our players to stand during the national anthem. The policy was put in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with the peaceful protest inspired by Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality and the systematic oppression of Black people and people of color in America.”
“It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.”
In 2017, the governing body had adopted a policy 604-1 in response to U.S. women’s national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe taking a knee in support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The quarterback kneeled during America’s national anthem prior to NFL games to protest racial inequality and police brutality, but Kaepernick was later largely marginalized by the NFL.
US Soccer’s U-turn predictably didn’t please Trump, who later also said that he may also give the NFL a miss after the league said last week its players should be allowed to protest during the anthem, adding that it was “wrong for not listening” to players earlier. Previously, Trump has called on the NFL to sack players who kneel.
The policy change from both US Soccer and the NFL has come amid ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
On Friday, a white police officer shot Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old African-American, in Atlanta. Brooks died of blood loss and organ injuries from two shots to the back. A medical examiner said the shooting was homicide.
This weekend, protests against racial inequality and racism continued across the US.
“FIFA strongly advocates for tolerance, mutual respect and common sense when such important matters are debated,” said the world federation in a statement to The Associated Press when asked about Trump’s comments.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1593918783labto1593918783ofdlr1593918783owedi1593918783sni@o1593918783fni1593918783