Author: Rohan Malpure
After the last year in sports has seen as a number of athletes kneel during the national anthem, U.S. Soccer has passed a rule stating that “all players” must stand respectfully when the anthem is played. The new law came to light when Stuart Holden, an analyst for Fox Soccer, tweeted out an image of the written rule last month. According to Jack Williams of The New York Times, the rule was later confirmed by Neil Buethe, the director of communications for U.S. Soccer.
Among the athletes who kneeled over the last year: Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. Women’s soccer team. She kneeled for the anthem during two games last year and said she was doing so in support of Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Kaepernick started the movement when he kneeled to protest police brutality. Rapinoe also added that she was protesting the many injustices against the LGBTQ community.
While Rapinoe went unpunished last year, U.S. Soccer has made it clear that there will be ramifications for breaking this rule. Sunil Gulati, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, stated that consequences would be addressed “as it happens”, with no preset repercussions. U.S. Soccer also released a statement denouncing Rapinoe’s actions last year, stating that anyone who had the privilege of representing the U.S. had an obligation to honor the American flag and stand whenever the anthem was being played.
The issue of kneeling during the anthem has essentially revolved around the limitations on free speech. Those in favor of Kaepernick and the other athletes believe they have a right to express themselves through kneeling, while others believe it is extremely disrespectful and essentially an unpatriotic act. It is important to note that athletes at all levels, including professional, collegiate, and high school, have kneeled. It should also be noted that athletes from all races have kneeled, to protest numerous issues in America.
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