In a statement issued on Monday, members of U.S. Soccer's Athlete
Council called for the repeal of Policy 604-1, known as the anthem policy.
U.S. Soccer's board of directors will hold a special meeting by teleconference on Tuesday to discuss Policy 604-1's repeal.
Three members of the Athlete Council are voting members on the federation board, which currently consists of 14 voting members. The Athlete Council holds 20 percent of the vote on the National Council, which will have to confirm any decision by the board at its next meeting in 2021.
The 20 percent voting interest is imposed by federal law. (A bill to increase athlete representation on NGBs from 20 to 33 percent was introduced in Congress in 2019.)
Athlete Council statement:
The members of the Athlete Council recently held a meeting to discuss U.S. Soccer’s anthem policy. The group invited both current and former players from our Women’s, Men’s, Beach, and Para 7-a-side National Teams. The guests shared their personal experiences and insight related to both the anthem policy and the groundswell of action taking place nationwide.
The Athlete Council strongly encourages the Board of Directors to repeal policy 604-1, the anthem policy. We understand the voting membership of U.S. Soccer will have the final say on this policy and we hope they will join us in our quest to allow an athlete to peacefully protest.
While provisionally repealing the policy is a start for U.S. Soccer, there is a clear lack of trust between the Athletes and the leadership. In order for a positive relationship to exist going forward, we feel U.S. Soccer should apologize and offer an admission of wrongdoing. Then and only then do we feel a new chapter between the USSF and its athletes can begin. Additionally, we urge U.S. Soccer to develop a plan with action items focused on anti-racism that will be shared publicly with its athletes, key stakeholders, and fans.
One meeting among athletes is not going to fix all problems. With that in mind we would like to invite the members of our women’s and men’s players associations and members of our Extended National Teams to engage with the Athlete Council on a consistent and continued basis to inspire and ignite change.
Both the player associations representing players on the the men's and women's national team also issued similar statements.
The women also called for an apology "to our black players and supporters" and how the federation would support the message and movement "that it tried to silence four year ago." The men also asked for an apology for the policy and for the policy to be rescinded.
Both associations maintain that the policy did not apply to their players because it was not negotiated with them.
And here’s the statement from a lawyer for the men’s national team union, which also condemned the policy and demanded an apology from US Soccer: pic.twitter.com/YimuzOACWR— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) June 9, 2020
Photo: Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire