Donald Trump has said he won’t be watching any more United States football matches after US Soccer said it wouldn’t insist players stand for the national anthem.
Protests have been rife in America following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
One way in which people have been showing their solidarity is ‘taking a knee’, inspired by Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who knelt during the anthem before games.
US Soccer has now said it won’t ask players to stand for the national anthem prior to games, a decision that hasn’t gone down well with the President, who previously slammed Kaepernick for the gesture.
Trump tweeted: “I won’t be watching much anymore!” after Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz had raised the issue.
He said: “I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem.
I won’t be watching much anymore! https://t.co/s8nCg9EJSW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2020
“You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised.”
US Soccer have released a statement claiming their previous position on the matter was incorrect.
“The US 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.”
US Soccer has also recently been involved in a clash with the Women’s Team as they seek equal pay.