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US Soccer Federation May Soon Repeal Ban on Players Kneeling During National Anthem

The policy, which was passed in 2017, states: “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented."

USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone has pushed for repealing the policy, and the board will meet virtually on Wednesday to discuss it,

ESPN reported. The board may take a formal vote Friday on repealing the rule. 

If the board does decide to repeal the policy, the change will take effect immediately but would still need to be voted on by the National Council during an annual general meeting in February or March. During that meeting, the National Council would opt to either keep the policy in place or repeal it.

A USSF spokesperson has confirmed that a repeal is being considered.

The policy was adopted after US women’s national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the national anthem in 2016 before a game against Thailand. 

Rapinoe was expressing support for and solidarity with then-San Francisco 49s quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who became the first player with the National Football League (NFL) to take a knee during the US national anthem before games in 2016 in protest against racial injustice and police brutality in the US. 

Kaepernick’s move was criticized by US President Donald Trump, who in 2017 said that league's owners should release any player who "disrespects" the American flag.

In 2018, the NFL also adopted a policy that promised to fine players who disrespect the American flag and national anthem. 

Although the NFL has yet to repeal that policy, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday acknowledged in a video statement that the league was wrong in failing to listen to players who protested against racial injustice.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,”

Goodell said. “We the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," Goodell said.

​“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League," he added.

It’s worth noting that the NFL statement was only released days after nationwide protests regarding the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and also after many of the league’s players collaborated to release their own video condemning police brutality and expressing solidarity with Floyd and other victims of racial injustice.

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