United States Soccer Federation to reconsider kneeling ban

The US women's national team has called on the USSF to repeal the policy and issue an apology to black players and fans

Megan Rapinoe during US national anthem
Image: US players have been required to stand during the national anthem since a rule was passed in 2017

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to consider repealing a policy requiring national team players to stand during the national anthem.

The USSF confirmed to Sky Sports News that a vote could come following Tuesday's conference call or on Friday at the quarterly executive board meeting.

The US women's national team has called on the USSF to repeal the policy and issue an apology to black players and fans.

The USSF passed a rule in 2017 that requires players and team personnel to "stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented".

Megan Rapinoe kneels during the US national anthem in 2016
Image: Megan Rapinoe kneels during the US national anthem in 2016

The policy was put in place after US women's national team member Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the playing of the anthem prior to a match against Thailand in 2016.

"The Federation should immediately repeal the 'Anthem Policy', publish a statement acknowledging the policy was wrong when it was adopted, and issue an apology to our black players and supporters," said the United States Women's National Team Players Association.

"Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement it tried to silence four years ago."

Kneeling has become a symbol of the fight against police brutality used by protesters who have flooded the streets of US cities in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

Colin Kaepernick popularised the gesture of kneeling during pre-game renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner in 2016 while a member of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

The move by the USSF to reconsider its position comes after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the league made a mistake not listening to players and encouraged them to speak out and peacefully protest.

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