Trump vows not to watch U.S. Soccer after national anthem decision
- Updated: June 15, 2020
Donald Trump has taken a shot at U.S. Soccer, claiming he won’t be watching the game anymore following a decision not to force players to stand for the national anthem.
America has been rocked by protests after the death of George Floyd with footballers around the world adding their voices to the Black Lives Matter movement.
U.S. Soccer themselves have taken a surprisingly strong stance and announced earlier this week that players would no longer be forced to stand for the national anthem.
Trump has now slammed that decision, however, vowing he won’t be watching the game again until the move is reversed.
“I won’t be watching much anymore! And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump’s comments on social media came as he threw his support behind the stance of Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz, who himself tweeted: “I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem. You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised.”
In a statement of their own earlier this week, U.S. Soccer confirmed their new stance on standing for the national anthem, stressing their previous approach to the matter was the wrong one.
“The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors voted yesterday afternoon to repeal Policy 604-1, which required our players to stand during the national anthem,” the federation said in a statement.
“The policy was put in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with the peaceful protest inspired by Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality, and the systematic oppression of Black people and people of color in America.
“It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.
“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 apologise to our players — especially our Black players — staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism.”
Ahead of the MLS’ return next month, the competition’s bosses have also confirmed there will be no national anthem played at games.
“We won’t be playing the anthem, and you hit it on the head,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
“There’s not going to be any fans in the stands, so we didn’t see that it would be appropriate. And I feel today no different than I felt then, which is if a player is looking to express their right to kneel during the national anthem, they should have the right to do so.
“I would hope that they would stand, but if they opt not to, that’s their prerogative and we will support that.”