U.S. Soccer is putting its foot down on national anthem protests.
The national federation has instituted a new policy that requires all players representing a U.S. national team, both men’s and women’s, to “stand respectfully” during the national anthem before games. U.S. Soccer’s board of directors unanimously passed the bylaw on Feb. 9.
The new policy appears to be in direct response to U.S. women’s star Megan Rapinoe, who knelt during the national anthem before a Team USA friendly in September. Rapinoe, following the lead of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was kneeling to protest social inequality in America.
U.S. Soccer issued a statement at the time saying it didn’t agree with Rapinoe’s decision. After the federation’s new bylaw was revealed Saturday, Team USA women’s coach Jill Ellis voiced her support of the new policy.
“I’ve always felt that that should be what we do, to honor the country, have the pride of putting on the national team jersey,” Ellis said, via ESPN FC. “I said that previously. I think that should be the expectation.”
Per Holden, there are no “preset consequences” for players who break U.S. Soccer’s new bylaw, as punishment would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images