In the same week where anthem protester Colin Kaepernick decided he would stand for the anthem from now on, U.S. Soccer has created a bylaw which will ensure that their players stand for the Star-Spangled Banner from now on.
The need for the bylaw stems from the anthem protests launched by soccer player Megan Rapinoe of Reign FC, who, to show solidarity with Kaepernick, began kneeling for the national anthem before games in September of last year.
Explaining her decision to protest to American Soccer Now, Rapinoe said at the time, “It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t.
“We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.”
The New York Times reports that U.S. Soccer’s board of directors passed the bylaw on February 9, before announcing it publicly over this weekend at the annual general meeting in Hawaii.
The new policy states, “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of the national anthem at any event in which the Federation is represented.”
U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati explained the rationale for the new policy, “There is a right to free speech; she also has the obligations to putting on a national team uniform,” Gulati told FourFourTwo. “And we think those are pretty strong when you’re representing the U.S. national team and wearing the crest.”
According to Independent Journal Review, “No official punishments have been announced for those who break the controversial bylaw.”
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