U.S. Soccer announced a new policy that requires all players to stand during the national anthem. The policy uses the phrase “stand respectfully,” to describe the requirement.
The policy 604-1 reads:
“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.”
The governing body adopted the policy after one of the women’s teams players kneeled while in uniform before games against the Netherlands and Thailand in September 2016.
The player, Megan Rapinoe knelt during the star-spangled banner for both games. She said she was backing then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest against alleged police brutality.
The new policy was announced at U.S. Soccer’s AGM:
In response to Rapinoe’s actions, U.S. Soccer had released a statement that said, “We have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor the flag while the national anthem is played.”
The women’s national team coach, Jill Ellis, reportedly said she was “pleased” with the new policy.
“I’ve always felt that that should be what we do, to honor the country, have the pride of putting on the national team jersey. I said that previously. I think that should be the expectation,” she told The Associated Press on Saturday.
There is a history of players using national anthems and flags as part of a protest. For many, there is unease when sporting events are used for political protests. They belive that sport should be completely free of politics and racial issues.