U.S. Women's Soccer Team Calls for Repeal of National Anthem Protest Policy

The U.S. Soccer Federation banned players from kneeling during the national anthem after Megan Rapinoe did so to show solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

By McKenna Aiello Jun 11, 2020 12:59 AMTags
Megan RapinoeKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

UPDATE: The U.S. Soccer Federation has officially voted to repeal Policy 604-1, which required players to stand during the national anthem.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the organization said in part, "It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter." 

"We have not done enough to listen—especially to our players—to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country. We apologize to our players—especially our Black players—staff, fans and all who support eradicating racism," it continued.

Read the entire statement below.


The U.S. women's national soccer team has called on the U.S. Soccer Federation to repeal a policy that requires players to stand during the national anthem. 

In a statement obtained by ESPN, the team says, We believe the Federation should immediately repeal the 'Anthem Policy,' publish a statement acknowledging the policy was wrong when it was adopted, and issue an apology to our Black players and supporters." 

The U.S. Soccer Federation voted to pass the policy after U.S. women's national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe kneeled for the playing of the national anthem during a 2016 match. She described it as a "little nod" to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who led a league-wide movement protesting against police brutality and racial injustice. 

Women's National Soccer Team at Parade of Champions 2019

"Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties," Rapinoe told American Soccer Now at the time. "It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It's important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don't need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that's really powerful."

The USWNT's statement continued, "Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement that it tried to silence four years ago. Until USSF does so, the mere existence of the policy will continue to perpetuate the misconceptions and fear that clouded the true meaning and significance of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe and other athletes taking a knee—that Black people in America have not been and continue to not be afforded the same liberties and freedoms as white people and that police brutality and systemic racism exist in this country."

Watch: Drew Brees Apologizes for "Insensitive" Remarks on Kneeling Protests

"This is everybody's responsibility, including this union and its members; we could and should have done more in the past. We are committed to rising up against racist, hateful and unjust acts to effect change. Black lives matter," the statement concluded.

According to ESPN sources, the U.S. Soccer Federation is set to discuss repealing the policy during a conference call on Tuesday. 

If the organization votes to move forward with the policy's repeal, ESPN reports it would take effect immediately. 

E! News reached out to the U.S. Soccer Federation for comment. 

(This story was originally published on Monday, June 8, 2020 at 7:06 p.m. PST)