The United States Soccer Federation added a new policy to its bylaws requiring players to “stand respectfully” during the national anthem.
The policy reportedly was passed by the organization’s board of directors on Feb. 9, but it just came to light Saturday:
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) March 4, 2017
It’s unclear what the penalty would be for disobeying the new rule.
It comes after U.S. player Megan Rapinoe knelt during the anthem twice last year — but only once as a member of the U.S. national team.
Here’s video of that occasion:
“As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.”
Rapinoe said she knelt during the national anthem to show support for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s similar protests and for minority groups:
“Quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected.”
After learning of the new anthem policy, a spokesperson for the U.S. women’s team issued this statement:
USWNT players spokesperson on US Soccer leaders being at AGM in Hawaii instead of game & new rule requiring players to stand for anthem. pic.twitter.com/TxyT5loV76
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 4, 2017
Not surprisingly, there are a lot of passionate takes on the issue on social media. Here’s a small sample from Twitter:
Want to stand during the national anthem for what you believe? Go for it.
Want to take a knee for a reason you believe? Go for it.
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) March 5, 2017
If you don't respect a country enough to stand for its National Anthem, then you dont respect it enough to wear its uniform. Merica. pic.twitter.com/alatVa42hz
— Cloyd Rivers (@CloydRivers) March 5, 2017
@nytimes – unnecessary + she is being respectful in pic + demonstrating her rights as a citizen in a democratic country -not u.s soccer tho
— Tracy Corneau (@Tracytms) March 5, 2017
If your on the US Soccer team and don't stand for anthem you should be kicked off the team. It's Disgusting
— greg ewald (@ewald1523) March 5, 2017
I love my country, and I stand for the anthem, but shame on U.S. Soccer for saying players must stand. That's fundamentally un-American.
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) March 5, 2017
What do you think? Is it fair to force U.S. soccer players to stand during the national anthem if they don’t want to?