The board of directors for U.S. Soccer on Wednesday passed a resolution that ends the league’s ban on kneeling for the American flag during the national anthem, as reported by The Hill.
The move was spearheaded by the league’s president Cindy Cone, and the vote was held via a conference call. The league originally approved a rule to ban kneeling in 2017, which declared that “all persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of the national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.”
The soccer league came under pressure from the U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, which issued a statement demanding that they repeal the 2017 rule and allow kneeling to take place, claiming that “only then do we feel a new chapter between the USSF and its athletes can begin.”
The decision follows a similar move by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who apologized for a similar ban on kneeling enacted by the NFL at the height of the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s anti-American protests in which he knelt for the national anthem. Goodell claimed that “without black players there would be no National Football League, and the protests across the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff.”
The renewal of support for the act of kneeling, considered extremely disrespectful to the flag and veterans who fought to defend it, comes amidst a broader wave of anti-American sentiment as the far-left groups Antifa and Black Lives Matter continue to protest across the country. Although the violent riots of the last few weeks appear to have died down, the groups are still demanding the abolition of police departments and the destruction of historic monuments.