On Wednesday, U.S. Soccer announced that its Board of Directors voted to repeal a policy that required players to stand during the national anthem.
The policy was originally put in place after Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem before a National Women's Soccer League game. Rapinoe knelt to support Colin Kaepernick in his protest efforts, saying she sympathized with his feelings toward the anthem, and the responses Kaepernick received as a result of kneeling.
“It is overtly racist," Rapinoe said of the response Kaepernick received. "And quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling. The very least that I can do is continue the conversation with him by kneeling for the anthem.”
U.S. Soccer admits now it made a mistake: “It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.”
On Monday, the U.S. women's national team demanded for the repeal of the anthem policy.
"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 USWNT players wrote. "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."
In its statement, U.S. Soccer offered an apology for not listening to its players, fans and minority communities for its shortcomings in addressing these issues.
“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. 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. We can do more on these specific issues and we will."