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Report: U.S. Soccer considering repealing ban on kneeling during National Anthem

The ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd continue to have an effect on the soccer world, this time possibly bringing change to U.S. Soccer’s anthem policy.

The federation is considering repealing the regulation that requires anyone representing U.S. Soccer at a match to stand for the National Anthem, according to ESPN. USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone is urging the board to discuss the policy at a meeting on Tuesday.

The board would have to vote on the repeal, but if it passes it would take effect immediately. It would still have to pass at the next AGM to stand long term.

Policy 604-1 states “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.” It was passed at the 2017 U.S. Soccer annual general meeting in reaction to Megan Rapinoe kneeling during the anthem before a friendly against Thailand the previous year.

Rapinoe vowed to, and has followed the policy since its adoption.

The motivation for this is the massive wave of protests sweeping the country following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd after police kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Many of the protests have seen both protesters and police officers alike taking a knee as they called for police reform nationwide.

The USSF Athlete Council has already discussed the potential repeal, but it is unknown whether the other councils of the federation, the Youth Council, Adult Council, and Pro Council have brought it up as of yet.


  1. People at that are against protest would not be for any form of it.
    Nothing to do with flag, it is just another excuse. Read the comments on here. “Pro-flag people” aren’t for anything that would work. Just the generic, I am ok with peaceful protest by THEM.
    They would be ok with NFL style, THEY can kneel in the tunnel where no one can see THEM or be affected by THEM. Otherwise it is Shut Up and Dribble LeBron.
    I get the anti-protest people don’t want black people to have a voice. 100%. I don’t want the anti-black cause people heard. I get it.

  2. Oh well not like watching the national team has brought any joy for a few years anyway.

    Kind of moving past watching grownups play a kids game anyway.

    • You will be missed. I saw Amazon bot the rights to Tim Howard story.
      Let the bidding begin for “Rory’s Story”

  3. I expect plenty of change under Parlow. I expect Parlow to support her USWNT players on free speech. (I also will be interested if some MNT take a knee) I expect next CBA the women will match the men on compensation, court case failure or not. I also will be curious if the shift to Parlow and McBride, and the exit of Jay Berhalter, swings the pendulum back towards pragmatism and results orientation. I don’t think we have to turn into tactical cavemen to come up with a system that better exploits the pool. I also don’t think Berhalter will still have endless room to mess up with his bosses all swapped out. I can’t believe Parlow would play along with pie in the sky nonsense. The women have been more practical and when an experiment didn’t work, we didn’t talk about the players needing to change, we got a new WNT coach to fit the team.

    • It’s not really a free speech issue EXCEPT FOR the very limited and specific scope of the CBA. The USSF is NOT a governmental organization.

      • i get that in a narrow sense it’s not a literal first amendment issue. but USSF, their employer, has dictated whether certain forms of speech can be made. this is political, not criminal or obscene. i think it’s as silly as when USOC came down on the black fist medal ceremony in 68.

    • I don’t think compensation will change since it’s tied to NWSL salaries but travel and per diem should equal out. Results oriented? 2019 was one of the better years records wise, finished 2nd in GC and won NL group that served as WC qualifiers no respectable President would argue with those results, the pragmatic approach brought us Arena how did that work out. Finally, Earnie Stewart, Angela Hucles, and Carlos Bocanegra all NT players who were on the selection committee that hired 3G, this idea that Gregg was some snake oil salesman that swindled Cordero like JK did Gulati is just fantasy.

  4. In this case, I will stop supporting USNT and I won’t let my ‘brothers’ be insulted by this.
    I served in ‘Honor Guard’ by kneeling the anthem : you vets of colors and people toiled to be Americans.

    • They signed up to defend the constitution. The very first amendment to the constitution gives the right to assemble and free speech. Whether you like their speech or not, they signed up to support the right to do it. And on what planet is this anti-military? Our national anthem isn’t a military anthem, it’s a civilian song. Our flag isn’t a military flag. At best it’s a police protest and the country has evolved on that one in a few years. This is not North Korea, our duty is not to get in line and sing patriotic songs and tout Dear Leader. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kapernick back in the fall. Sorry this whole silly debate, like the confederate statues. is going to look like the people who tried to block black kids from going to white schools in the early 60s. it will not age well.

      • Yes, don’t insult us, we have nothing to do with this mess, blame local politicians and law enforcement. These rioters already killed too many people (most of them were Black). Rapinoe is an insult that wants attention and reason Women World Cup are not that next the men.

        BLM and ANITA riots: support the 1% (sponsor by Open Society), destroy small minority business and independent business, give more power to the people cause the problem, sick and elderly people can’t get medicine, increase the cost of living for the poor, shows these groups are the real racist, and you become another sheep.

        NRA has nothing to do with us. so please. Myself and wife own guns and rifles, stranger that 90% Hispanics are pro-guns…hahaha…I guess there’s too much obedient white boys. Note: Myself (born in Uruguay) and my wife (born El Salvador) are immigrants. Long life ‘Rooftop Korea’ keep L.A. safe and the vatos from Cicero!

        We start (vet and military) anti-U.S. soccer move because U.S. soccer lost it focus. I will stop support for U.S. soccer and try to get boyscott (we stop watching it and not going to the games). There’s no politics in soccer.

    • Then stop supporting the team. That’s your right, just as it is the right of Americans to voice their feelings about justice and human rights. If that bothers you, then you need to ask yourself why.

      • Human rights? protest China! I remember people protest China national team because Tibet, early 2000’s. It bothers me, I love soccer and it’s part my culture, I am now an American and I gave my love to U.S. soccer and MLS, and now U.S. soccer is hijack by a bunch ‘white soy-boys’ pushing their agenda, instead loving the sport and unite as one in stadium.

    • Just a few thoughts:
      – the flag represents all Americans, not just military and veterans
      – kneeling during the anthem is not about the flag or the military
      – Banning players from kneeling is, in itself, a political act.
      – It is virtually impossible to separate politics from professional sports (singing the national anthem before league games is political)
      – if you don’t want politics in sports, then sporting events should not hold special nights to honor law enforcement and the military

    • I served in the military for 4 years for our country. I studied government and got a degree in political science plus grad work in poli sci and public administration. I worked for local government for 20 years, including working for a city councilman. You attitude is antithical to the Constitutional rights I have sworn to defend on numerous occasions. You have no idea what you are talking about. It has never bothered me when people peacefully protest. And your statements about the present protestors are just untrue. You are just parroting what you have heard from a certain opinion outlet.

    • I am grown man in my early 40s (recently turned). Played soccer and became a licensed attorney. Constitutionally, they have a right to kneel. In addition, as private organizations, US Soccer and NFL have a right to make a rule against it (not a government so they do not violate 1st amendment). You just have to see what does it mean when you do because what does the protest really mean.

      I have quite a few friends who served in all branches of the military: Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force (RIP). Not one saw it as a personal affront the way you or some people do. Whether or not they liked it, they all say to a man that they have a right to do it. The fact of the matter is, you and others don’t like it because you don’t agree with it. That happens on all sides of political spectrum.

      Most people are peaceful protestors, and only a few are rioters and looters. You keep calling them “rioters” which is painting the whole group with the same brush.

      If you don’t want to watch, don’t. That is your right. However, please don’t pretend that it is anything more than you do not like their legally valid stance, period.

      • Re the rioters, I think the news has done a poor job of putting up maps showing where the actual protests are and where the looting/rioting is, and comparing such. I think only occasionally would they align. I think often enough it seems like kids who take advantage of heavy protest policing “over here” to break into places “over there.” Likewise, I don’t think any mainstream protest group has made a stated goal of civil disorder or looting or fires. Basically the game, to me, seems to be to use the disorderly people, who may not be in the protest movement and may be blocks away, as an excuse to raid the orderly ones.

    • Posted before I edited. I meant

      “You just have to be careful what your actions (as an organization) indicate. It is incredibly important to understand what a protest/action really means before you act.”

      The NFL let a narrative given by some people dictate the meaning when that was never the case. It was never about the disrespect to the military. You don’t have to like Kaepernick. I think he made mistakes and did some stupid things,but his protest was NEVER about disrespect to flag or military. He even said so.

    • What has happened, to me, is most of the political middle and corporate America have pivoted on the issue. The Fox crowd hasn’t moved other than they like photos of white cops hugging black protesters. But as with gun violence most of the country is sick of it, and there is no NRA to block change. To me the first time through these issues a couple years ago there were a fair amount of liberals, moderates, corporate America, who either didn’t understand, weren’t fed up enough, or got sidetracked on patriotism. Corporate America wants stability back and the middle has seen one too many tapes. At which point it’s like, for most people, were we too hard on these people. The issue here is framed as just Rapinoe but there are already German league Americans wearing arm bands and such, so I suspect this will be about more than one protest or protester. We just do not see it yet because other than car racing US sports aren’t back going yet.


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