U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone apologized Saturday for the federation’s lack of leadership in the fight against racism as she addressed its decision to repeal a policy that required players to stand during the national anthem.
The federation’s board of directors voted last week to repeal the rule, adopted in 2017 after national team player Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled for the anthem in the 2016 season while the 49ers’ quarterback to protest racism and social injustice.
“We are committed to doing better to help fight racism and discrimination in all its forms,” said Parlow Cone, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the U.S. women’s team and a member of the United States’ 1999 Women’s World Cup championship team. “Repealing Policy 604-1 was just the first step.”
Policy 604-1 stated: “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.”
The board passed the rule on Feb. 9, 2017, and got rid of it during a conference call Tuesday. Parlow Cone called the special meeting after broaching the idea of repealing the rule the week before. Three players spoke on the call.
It was the first board meeting Parlow Cone, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, led as president. She took over in March after Carlos Cordeiro’s abrupt resignation amid fallout over the federation’s legal stance in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the women’s national team.
In her comments Saturday, Parlow Cone apologized to African Americans and other minorities “for us not being leaders in this fight.”
“We will continue to engage with our players, our staff and soccer stakeholders to help us be a positive force for change going forward,” Parlow Cone said. “And this is not about short-term initiatives. This is about writing these ideals into our DNA.”
• • •
Coverage of local and national protests from the Tampa Bay Times
WHAT PROTESTERS WANT: Protesters explain what changes would make them feel like the movement is successful.
WHAT ARE NON-LETHAL AND LESS-LETHAL WEAPONS? A guide to what’s used in local and national protests.
WHAT ARE ARRESTED PROTESTERS CHARGED WITH? About half the charges filed have included unlawful assembly.
CAN YOU BE FIRED FOR PROTESTING? In Florida, you can. Learn more.
HEADING TO A PROTEST? How to protect eyes from teargas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.