Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz
says he is drafting legislation compelling U.S. Soccer to reverse the decision of its board on Tuesday repealing Policy 604-1, which requires players
and staff to stand respectfully for the national anthem.
"I just could not believe this when I saw it," he said on his podcast show "Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz." "This is the U.S. national
soccer team, making the decision that the soccer players who play underneath our flag, do not have to stand for it, as it is being presented.”
Gaetz, 38, is in his second term as
the U.S. representative for Florida's 1st Congressional District, which covers part of the Panhandle and has a large military presence. He is known for taking publicity-seeking positions that has
garnered him extensive media coverage normally not reserved for such a young congressman. He admitted he wasn't much of a soccer fan.
“I don’t like soccer enough, for the U.S.
to even have a soccer team, if that soccer team is going to disrespect our anthem and our flag,” he added. “It is not like some essential thing that we have to have, if latched to the U.S.
soccer team is this sense of such extreme wokeness that we cannot be proud of the United States while wearing the uniform of the United States.”
Before the federation board met to
discuss the anthem policy, both the men's and women's national team player associations said the policy, introduced in 2017, did not apply to their players because it was not negotiated as part of the
working conditions of their collective bargaining agreements.