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The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday that it has repealed a ban on kneeling during the national anthem three years after it was first enacted.

  • The decision comes as nationwide protests against police brutality, racial injustice and the death of George Floyd.
  • The federation said: “It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.”

What the policy said:

  • The original policy — Policy 604-1 — said players from all U.S. national teams needed to “stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.”
  • The policy passed in February 2017 “about five months after soccer star Megan Rapinoe first took a knee during ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick,” according to NPR.

Reaction and pressure

  • The U.S. Men’s National Team called for an apology, too: “Because the policy was never negotiated with our Players Association it did not apply to the US Men’s National Team players so we were not concerned about it. However, the Federation now absolutely needs to acknowledge they were wrong to issue it, to apologize for it, and rescind it.”
  • U.S. Soccer Federation apologized: “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.”
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