Seth Jahn has been removed from U.S. Soccer’s Athlete’s Council in the wake of a racially-charged rant he delivered in an effort to object to U.S. Soccer’s decision to rescind its policy requiring athletes to stand for the national anthem.
The Athletes’ Council announced on Sunday that it removed Jahn as a member following his racially-charged comments at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting.
— brianna pinto (@b_pinto9) March 1, 2021
Jahn’s comments came as the USSF voted on Saturday to repeal Policy 604-1, which required all national team players to stand for the national anthem when representing the country. The repeal received 71.34 percent of the weighted vote.
Jahn, a native of Florida who represented the U.S. Paralympic National Team in 7-a-side soccer, said before the vote that he was sure he would “ruffle some feathers” with his comments.
“Given the evolution of our quote-unquote, progressive culture where everything offends everybody, those willing to take a knee our for anthem don’t care about defending half of our country and when they do so, then I don’t have too much concern in also exercising my First Amendment right,” Jahn said. “We’re here to get a different perspective. I also feel compelled to articulate that I’m of mixed race and representative of undoubtedly the most persecuted people in our country’s history, Native-Americans.”
After spouting off a claim that FBI statistics showed that 95 percent of deaths in black communities were committed by black men, the 38-year-old went on a tirade about slavery that downplayed the horrific period in U.S. history.
“I keep hearing how our country was founded on the backs of slaves, even though approximately only 8 percent of the entire population even owned slaves,” he said.
Jahn went on to comment that various races have experienced slavery, even mentioning his two-and-a-half-year stay in Africa where he “could purchase people, slaves, between the price of $300 and $800 per person, per head depending on their age, health and physicality.”
The former U.S. Army veteran went on to chastise the media and other individuals who he claims turn a blind eye to injustices in other parts of the world while criticizing their home country.
“Where were the social justice warriors and the news journalists there to bring their ruminations to these real atrocities? And yet in all of history, only one country has fought to abolish slavery, the United States of America, where nearly 400,000 men died to fight for the abolishment of slavery underneath the same stars and bars that our athletes take a knee for. Their sacrifice is tainted with every knee that touches the ground.”
The Athletes’ Council was quick to rebuke Jahn’s comments as they released a statement on Sunday saying that he “violated the USSF’s Prohibited Conduct Policy.” It added that it “does not tolerate this kind of language and finds it incompatible with membership on the Council. While the Council understands that each person has a right to his or her own opinion, there are certain opinions that go beyond the realm of what is appropriate or acceptable.”
Current and former players in the men’s and women’s national team programs also reacted to Jahn’s rant.
“To say I was offended by the views expressed today by Seth Jahn would be an understatement,” former U.S. center-back Oguchi Onyewu said in a tweet. As an African-American male I find his words, views, and disinformation extremely divisive and dangerous. There is no room in this world for discrimination of any form, and I will continue to speak for those whose voices continue to be suppressed.”
Becky Sauerbrunn also weighed in on Jahn’s comments saying that while he is entitled to his own opinion, he is neither “entitled to his own set of facts” nor “should use said facts in a way that misinforms and obfuscates the real issues at hand.”
The defender added that “our Black and minority players, fans and staff deserve nothing less than to be represented, heard and included in the decisions that impact the sport they love.”
Despite the criticism and removal from the Athletes’ Council, Jahn doubled down in a tweet later on Sunday saying, “I will never apologize for the statements made, and I will never bow down to the mob mentality of intimidation, bullying, or the social media warrior’s Gestapo tactics.”
My apology letter: pic.twitter.com/QLaHhjXDfn
— Seth Jahn (@SJahnIX) February 28, 2021