SBD/March 6, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

U.S. Soccer Federation Adds New Policy Calling For Players To Stand For Anthem

Rapinoe drew attention for kneeling multiple times last year before USWNT games
The U.S. Soccer Federation on Saturday added a new policy to its bylaws, calling for players to "stand respectfully" during the playing of the National Anthem at any event in which the USSF "is represented," according to's Stuart Holden. USSF President Sunil Gulati said that there are "no preset consequences," and the policy "would be addressed as it happens" (, 3/4). In N.Y., Jack Williams noted the new rule comes after USWNT MF Megan Rapinoe "knelt during the anthem at least twice last year." Rapinoe's gesture "followed the example" of then-49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (N.Y. TIMES, 3/5). USWNT coach Jill Ellis said that she was "happy with the policy." Ellis: "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" (, 3/4). SPORTS ON EARTH’s Cy Brown wrote as an organization that is “practically built on the idea of patriotism, it was an easy public relations move for U.S. Soccer.” However, it also “runs the risk of Rapinoe or another player kneeling in the future if only because of the bylaw.” Now a story, which had been “out of the news” in light of Colin Kaepernick “saying he wouldn't continue his protest next season, has been dragged right back into the light” (, 3/4).

SETTING A BAD PRECEDENT: ESPN FC's Chris Jones writes the new policy is "misguided" and "tarnished both the country and the game" of soccer. He cites the potential penalties for players who violate the rule and writes even the NFL did not punish Kaepernick "when he first sat and then kneeled" this past season. Jones: "This is the same organization that failed to sanction either Tim Howard or Abby Wambach when both made not-so-thinly veiled arguments against the inclusion of foreign-born players on national teams." It is seems that nobody "asked for this new rule." Since Rapinoe's initial protest five months ago, there "haven't been complaints about the rampant disrespect American soccer players have been showing during the anthem" (, 3/6).
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