The United States Soccer Federation’s Board of Directors voted to repeal Policy 604-1, which required players to stand during the national anthem, and players and key figures surrounding the USMNT and USWNT have shared their reaction.
The anthem policy was put in place by US Soccer in 2017 after Megan Rapinoe knelt in peaceful protest of police brutality and the oppression of people of color in the United States, inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
On Monday the USWNT requested that the USSF repeal the policy. The USSF board who made the decision to repeal the policy includes Parlow Cone, Carlos Bocanegra, Lori Lindsey, Chris Ahrens, Steve Malik, Don Garber, Richard Moeller, John Motta, Pete Zopfi, Tim Turney, and Mike Cullina. It has been reported that the decision was not unanimous.
As for the reaction, the USMNT posted a statement on their Instagram page on the anthem policy change and USMNT and Man City goalkeeper Zack Steffen (currently on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf) posted a comment as the comments section was full of angry commenters who were against the decision.
“These comments are sad man… this doesn’t mean we will definitely kneel during the anthem. This just means that they are living up to what our flag stands for and what our first amendment clearly states, which is the freedom of speech and to peacefully protest. We will do something together as a team to support this movement because too many people still don’t understand,” Steffen said.
Aside from Steffen’s comments, there hasn’t been too much reaction from other players yet but most have already called for the repeal of this anthem policy as the US Soccer athletes’ council called for the anthem policy to change earlier this week.
“Then and only then do we feel a new chapter between the USSF and its athletes can begin. Additionally, we urge US Soccer to develop a plan with action items focused on anti-racism that will be shared publicly with its athletes, key stakeholders, and fans.”
Here’s a look at the reaction from key figures on the decision from US Soccer.
— Mary V. Harvey OLY (@maryvharvey) June 11, 2020
US Soccer apologized to Black players and others for its anthem policy.
Their statement says the policy was "wrong" and says it "detracted from the important message" of BLM.
Pretty wild 180 when you consider the policy was passed without objection 3 years ago. https://t.co/xOQrUMTQOp
— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) June 11, 2020
There have also been reports that MLS will not play the national anthem before games at its Orlando tournament from July to August this summer, while the NWSL will play the national anthem before its summer tournament in Utah which kicks off later this month.