Kneeling on the ground has become, since the death of George Floyd on May 25 after his arrest by a police officer, an emblematic gesture to challenge racial injustice, during the numerous demonstrations that took place in the United States and in world. He will now be allowed on the football (soccer) fields for the US national teams during the national anthem.
“The board of directors voted (Tuesday) afternoon to repeal rule 604-1, which required our players to stand during the national anthem “said the American Football Federation (USSF) on Wednesday, June 10. “It became clear that our policy was wrong and undermined the important message of the Black Lives Matter movement” (black lives matter), the USSF acknowledged.
The measure was introduced in 2017 after national women’s team star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the “Star-Spangled Banner” in an international match in 2016.
She then joined the protest movement against police brutality against blacks, initiated by ex-American football star Colin Kaepernick. For this gesture, the latter was treated as “Motherfucker” by Donald Trump and has not replayed for three years, blacklisted in the NFL, the League that manages American football.
“We have not done enough to listen – especially our players – to understand and recognize the very real and meaningful experiences of black people and other minority communities in our country. We apologize to our players – especially our black players -, staff, fans and all those who support the eradication of racism ”, added the Football Federation.
The small step of the NFL, the status quo of the IOC
Friday, June 5, it was the NFL who also stepped forward Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the American Football League, said “Condemn racism and systematic oppression of blacks” and admitted that the League had “Was wrong not to have listened to the players of the league earlier”. “We, the NFL, encourage everyone to speak out and protest peacefully”, added the leader in a message posted on social networks.
If he called, on Wednesday, June 10, the athletes to demonstrate in a “Worthy” their support for the fight against racism after the death of George Floyd, Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, did not question the ban on the knee on the ground which appears in the Olympic Charter (rule 50) .
“We fully supported the initiative of the Athletes’ Commission (from the IOC) to engage with counterparts around the world to explore the different ways in which Olympic athletes can express their support for the principles contained in the Olympic Charter in a dignified manner ”said Mr. Bach.
He also indicated that he refused to interfere in the work of this Athletes’ Commission and to give “Directions or instructions”, recalling that the Olympic Games are a “Demonstration of support for the Olympic principles of non-discrimination. It’s our DNA, one of the reasons for the Olympics. ”.