New Policy added to @ussoccer bylaws: Players "shall stand respectfully during playing of national anthem @ which federation is represented" pic.twitter.com/fkVtCI1iHC
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) March 4, 2017
US Soccer has written a new policy mandating that players "stand respectfully" for the national anthem, making a break from other sporting authorities that have largely let players make the decision themselves.
US Soccer came under fire for reprimanding US Women's Soccer veteran Megan Rapinoe for taking a knee in protest of the nation's systemic violence and oppression against black people. San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick helped push this conversation to the forefront, after taking a knee in protest of social injustice at the beginning of September. While the First Amendment only protects citizens' freedom of expression from the government, leagues and federations like US Soccer are private organizations that can enforce policy on their own terms.
According to ESPN, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati claimed that the bylaw was "unanimously approved." Former national teamer and Fox Sports pundit Stuart Holden is reporting that U.S. Soccer authorities have not yet mapped out predetermined consequences for not standing during the anthem, but that they would address incidents on a case-by-case basis.