Now that the leader of the "Take A Knee" for the anthem movement has decided to acquiesce to the corporate powers that be and refuses to further be targeted for a heroic stance that the majority of Americans took offense to, entities outside of the NFL, who have been dealing with similar social protests in their respective sports, are also ready to put the kibosh on Colin Kaepernick's influence.
On Saturday, at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting, the federation unveiled a new policy requiring all players to stand for national anthems. This comes in the wake of a protest by United States women’s national team player Megan Rapinoe, who kneeled during the anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick and other athletes to protest systemic injustice in America.
Fox Soccer’s Stuart Holden tweeted this photo with the policy from the AGM.
Rapinoe first kneeled during the anthem prior to a NWSL game on September 4th. She did it again while in a national team shirt on September 15th. Following the USWNT’s game against Thailand, U.S. Soccer released a statement on the protest, containing this line.
“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.”
Because the federation had no stated policy at the time, they had no way to punish Rapinoe without risking a legal challenge. Rapinoe has been called up to the national team since her protest, which U.S. Soccer didn’t appear to understand when it happened.
Maybe USSF president Sunil Gulati needs to get more in touch with the political issues that she has struggled to address.
This won't sit well with athletes. While most agree that they should stand for the anthem, in a Democracy they should also be allowed to express their displeasure with the government, society and how people are being governed. Forcing any athlete to worship what they perceive as a false idol is against our Democratic principles and opens up an even larger can of worms.
Especially considering that the edict is vague and doesn't offer any punishment for those athletes who refuse to abide by it.
I'm not so sure that in 2017 this is the best way to avoid PR nightmares. People hate to be told that they can't do something just because.