A day after the US Soccer announced that it had overturned its ban on protests during the national anthem, federation president Cindy Parlow Cone apologized to women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe for the policy being instituted originally.
US Soccer added the rule to its bylaws in 2017 after Rapinoe began kneeling for the anthem to protest racism and police abuses. Rapinoe was following the lead of then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began the same protests in 2016 and hasn’t played in the NFL since that year.
“I personally apologised to (Rapinoe) for putting this policy into place,” Parlow Cone said Thursday in an interview with ESPN FC.
Parlow Cone, moved from US Soccer vice president to the presidency after Carlos Cordeiro resigned in March, admitted that the recent national protests regarding racism spurred the board to its reversal.
“The protests definitely galvanized our thinking on the issue,” Parlow Cone said. “In 2017, when we passed the policy, the board’s discussion centered around the national anthem and the perceived disrespect for the flag, and we missed the point completely.
“It wasn’t ever about the flag. It was and is about fighting police brutality and the racial injustices in our society. And it’s about seeing and believing and standing with our black and minority communities that fight injustices.”
She admitted that she felt in 2017 that kneeling was disrespectful to the flag, and she acknowledged there likely will be backlash against US Soccer’s reversal.