The national anthem policy was put into effect after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in 2016 before a match

By Eric Todisco
June 11, 2020 10:37 AM
Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty

The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) announced in a statement Wednesday it has repealed its policy that requires players to stand during the national anthem.

In the statement, the USSF said that the Board of Directors voted on Tuesday afternoon to repeal the policy, which was put into place after U.S. Women's National Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe, inspired by NFL star Colin Kaepernick, knelt before a 2016 match.

"We have not done enough to listen -- especially to our players -- to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country," the USSF said. "We apologize to our players -- especially our Black players -- staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism."

"Sports are a powerful platform for good, and we have not used our platform as effectively as we should have," the statement continued. "We can do more on these specific issues and we will."

The soccer federation said that they "are committed to this change effort" and promised they would be "implementing supporting actions in the near future."

The team celebrating Rapinoe’s game-winning goal in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final
| Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The USSF's decision comes several days after the U.S. women's national soccer team urged them to repeal the national anthem policy in a statement shared on social media.

"We believe 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," the team said.

"Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement that it tried to silence four years ago," the statement added. "Until USSF does so, the mere existence of the Policy will continue to perpetuate the misconceptions and fear that clouded the true meaning and significance of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe and other athletes taking a knee that Black people in America have not been and continue to not be afforded the same liberties and freedoms as white people and that police brutality and systemic racism exist in this country."


The #TakeAKnee movement was famously sparked by Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers, when he refused to stand during the national anthem before NFL games in protest of police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

Many players in the league and from other sports, including Rapinoe, joined in the on the protest by kneeling or participating with their own variations.

At the time, Rapinoe was the first white athlete and the first female athlete to kneel.