Cindy Parlow Cone apologizes to Megan Rapinoe for anthem policy

In her first statement since U.S. Soccer's board voted to repeal its controversial anthem policy, federation president Cindy Parlow Cone said in an interview on ESPN FC Daily on Thursday that the policy had "missed the point completely."

At a February 2017 teleconference meeting, the board passed Policy 604-1 -- confirmed the next month by the National Council -- that required players and team personnel to “stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented."

"We missed the point completely -- it was never about the flag," Parlow Cone said on the ESPN show. "It was and is about fighting police brutality and the racial injustices in our society. It is about seeing, believing and standing with our black and minority communities to fight these injustices."

She said she understood how people might feel kneeling is disrespectful to the flag and there will be some backlash because that's how she was in February 2017 when she was on the board as one of three representatives from the Athlete Council and voted for Policy 604-1. She said her father served in Vietnam and has a brother who served in Iraq.

"While I personally choose to continue to stand for the national anthem and use my voice in other ways, I feel others have the right to kneel," Parlow Cone said Thursday.

The anthem policy was adopted after U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the playing of the anthem prior to a match against Thailand in Columbus, Ohio, in 2016. She took a knee to condemn police brutality toward black Americans and in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during pregame renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016.

Cone said the recent protests "galvanized" the board on the issue. It met virtually on Tuesday afternoon and heard from three players -- Rapinoe from the women's national team and unnamed players from the men's and Paralympic programs -- to address differing views on the issue.

"I personally apologized to [Rapinoe] for putting this policy into place," Parlow Cone said.

Parlow Cone, who became president on March 12 following the resignation of Carlos Cordeiro, is one of five voting board members who were on the board when it unanimously approved Policy 604-1.

The others were MLS commissioner Don Garber and Chris Ahrens, John Motta and Tim Turney, who represent the Athlete, Adult and Youth Councils, respectively.
18 comments about "Cindy Parlow Cone apologizes to Megan Rapinoe for anthem policy".
  1. Steve M., June 12, 2020 at 7:54 a.m.

    Ms. Cone,

    I am sorry, you and this vote by US Soccer are missing the point completely.   I completely believe in standing up for your beliefs and protesting peacefully to make a cause better, as that is what America and our freedom's stand for.   But there are certain beliefs and standards that should never be comprimised and this is one of them.   
    When you begin to comprise the character and integrity of the United States, which allows the freedom of speech and gives everyone the right to protest peacefully, it is the beginning of many more issues down the road.      

    Lastly, regarding Megan Rapinoe, what a terrible representative and role model to young children.   After the women won the last US World Cup, she went on a TV speaking tour and every other word she stated on numerous TV events was F.... yeah.     I hope Ms. Cone, that is not what you are about and condone as the new Federation President.  

  2. Alan Blackledge replied, June 12, 2020 at 11:46 a.m.

    Excellent Steve, well said!

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2020 at 6:40 p.m.

    Some of us believe that lawful political protests do not compromise the character and integrity of the United States. Quite the opposite in fact. The fact that freedom of speech and of the press comprise the First Amendment signifies their importance to our democracy.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, June 12, 2020 at 9:47 p.m.

    @Bob... The USSF is a Non- Governmental Entity; As such, it is NOT Required to enjoin the 1st Amendment Protections  to its EMPLOYEEs... The Owner, USSF, can Limit and Restrict and Discipline(to the Point of Termination) it's Employees Speech... You know that.!!! The Owner Of "The Enterprise" has made a Business Decision; I think they will "Rue the Day", Just as the NFL did. We will "Vote" with our Dollars and our Remotes.!!!

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2020 at 11:41 p.m.

    Santiago, it isn't as simple as you seem to think. First, USSF doesn't own the venues. Second, USSF cannot violate discrimination laws. Third, there are state and local laws in addition to federal laws. Fourth, USSF enjoys a special status under federal law. It is a national governing body. So the argument that it is not subject to legal restrictions on the federal government in its actions as a national governing body is not one that I would make. 

  6. Wallace Wade, June 12, 2020 at 9:50 a.m.

    President Cone, how about tackling some "real" issues with the sport in this Country? It's a International laughing stock. Meanwhile generations of talented players are being ripped off. The only way up for most of these players is to go anywhere but here. All the 15 to 17 year old players I work with ALL want to somehow get to Europe! ALL of them. Why is this Ms. Cone?

  7. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2020 at 10:32 a.m.

    Wallace, the same people that run the Seattle gov't structure can run U.S Soccer...and vice versa.....

    From what I know about you, count yourself lucky that you're able to run the show without any DA, MLS academies, or any of these USSF idiots messing with your organization.  If I had your organization , I would install developing aspects that you won't find in the other soccer organizations....

  8. jason bay, June 12, 2020 at 10:24 a.m.

    If the people who kneel say it's not about the flag then why kneel during the National Anthem?
    You make it about the flag by kneeling and the people who voted to repeal the rule are just as disrespectful to the original idea of standing with hand over heart. There are plenty of other opportunities during a match to express yourself. 

  9. Philip Larkin replied, June 12, 2020 at 7:09 p.m.

    I agree. This is not a way to attract.and keep supportive fans. Will divide the team.

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, June 12, 2020 at 9:50 p.m.

    @Jason...Hard to argue with Logic.!!!

  11. Michael Taddonio, June 12, 2020 at 10:42 a.m.

         I completely agree with the stated comments. It is 100% correct to express one's views. However, it isn't proper to show disrespect to our country and to the sympbols of our nation. People such as Megan Rapinoe have the right to express their views. They shouldn't force the views they express on others. It is fine that Megan Rapinoe does not like our current President or some things go on in the USA.  However, they should not show their displeasure with things by showing disrepect to things that I just mentioned. This is another thing that US Soccer has done wrong. I remember when, for a period of time, the USWNT numbers were multi-colored, representing the sexual equality. The federation was wrong in doing this. It would be good for the federation to stay out of stuff like that.  I read that one player was left off the USWNT because she refused to wear the jersey with the multi-colored numbers, which was due to her religious beliefs, Many people believe  what I just said.  I hope that this changes.

  12. Alan Blackledge replied, June 12, 2020 at 11:48 a.m.

    Good points...

  13. Santiago 1314 replied, June 12, 2020 at 9:56 p.m.

    @Micheal,,,, Least we Mix the Two... Kaepernick and Rapinoe Started Knelling in 2016, Before Trump Won... At that time, Obama was President, and NO ONE expected Trump to Win.!!! I guess they were Protesting that Obama had NOT Done anything about Police Killing Black Men, in his 8 years as President. 

  14. Alvaro Bettucchi, June 12, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

    Soccer is an international world sport, with players from all over the world participating on local teams. Why play the display the flag and then anthem on the field?  Play the team song, lke it happens throughout the wotld, and the flag plus the anthem, at international evnts!

  15. Santiago 1314 replied, June 12, 2020 at 9:58 p.m.

    Agreed, Maybe at the "Finale"

  16. John Lyncheski, June 12, 2020 at 12:43 p.m.

    It’s Cindy that misses the point completely. There’s a big difference between a football player on an NFL team using the anthem to protest and a member of a team representing the USA, most particularly in an International forum, doing so. While I personally don’t agree with either while they are on a representative team, I respect their right to express their view and to their freedom of expression. However, to support disrespecting the anthem when one is wearing the uniform of the USA and representing our country in the eyes of the world is entirely hypocritical. There are a plethora of times and places for speaking out. When wearing the uniform of our country in a competition is not one of them. Being a member of Team USA is an honor few will ever get to enjoy, but it has to come with limitations and restrictions when in that USA uniform. From a proud veteran. 

  17. Santiago 1314 replied, June 12, 2020 at 10 p.m.

    @John, Right Over The Target... Thanks for your Service.!!!

  18. frank schoon, June 13, 2020 at 8:23 a.m.

    I think Rapinhoe should be apologizing to us for causing such a raucous for her antics which are totally unnecessary. The ultimate protest of how she feels for our country is for her to REJECT  any invitation to play for the National Team. PERIOD!!!  But what she is doing is having her cake and eating it too. Protest and still play and enjoy the excitement and bennies for playing for the NT. 

    I'd say if you have a problem with this country and you want to protest than DON'T play which is the ultimate form of protest which  I can truly respect. 

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications