U.S. Soccer has never been supportive of Megan Rapinoe's national anthem protests, and now they're taking action against it.
It’s not the first time a soccer organization has attempted to stop players from protesting during the national anthem.
Last fall, the Washington Spirit played the anthem early, preventing Reign FC midfielder Megan Rapinoe from continuing to kneel during it, which she started doing in September in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Now, at its Annual General Meeting in Hawaii on Saturday, U.S. Soccer has instituted a new bylaw requiring players to “stand respectfully during the playing of the national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented,” Fox’s Stuart Holden reports.
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After the Spirit’s attempts to dissuade Rapinoe, the Reign issued a statement saying the club would support her “in a manner consistent with the values of our organization.”
U.S. Soccer wasn’t as supportive of Rapinoe’s initial protests.
“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,” read a statement issued at the time.
Now, they’re putting words into action. Although it’s worth noting no formal punishment has been set for violating the new rule. If a player refuses to stand, it would be addressed as it happens, with no preset consequences, Holden reports.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Women’s National Team players issued the following statement to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl in response to the new bylaw.