U.S. Soccer is nipping this “taking a knee during the national anthem” nonsense in the bud.
The association announced a new policy that will require all players, coaches and other personnel on its national teams to “stand respectfully” at each game’s opening as “The Star-Spangled Banner” is performed.
This decision came in response to player Megan Rapine having taken a knee last fall at a U.S. women’s match. Immediately after that incident, U.S. Soccer released a statement that said, “we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor the flag while the national anthem is played.”
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) March 4, 2017
But that “expectation” wasn’t made mandatory until recently when the organization added a new policy to its bylaws.
“All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at every event in which the Federation is represented,” the new policy reads.
Fox Sports soccer analyst Stuart Holden reported:
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) March 4, 2017
Although the rule was approved by U.S. Soccer’s board of directors early last month, it wasn’t announced until Saturday at the organization’s national general meeting.
U.S. coach Jill Ellis said Saturday that she agreed with the federation’s new policy.
“I’ve always felt that that should be what we do to honor the country and have the pride of putting on a national team jersey,” she said, according to the New York Daily News. I said that previously, I think that should be the expectation. That’s our workplace out there and we should represent ourselves and our country,” Ellis said.
The new policy is silent on the issue of punishment for infractions of the new policy. Federation president Sunil Galati said they will address that if and when a violation occurs, Fox Sports reported.
Attorney, author and marathon runner Dan Rauschenberg observed on that issue:
— Dane Rauscheberg (@SeeDaneRun) March 4, 2017
The practice of refusing to stand for the national anthem was initiated by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and was soon picked up by other NFL players. As a possible result, ratings for games tanked throughout the season.
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