Respect for America during the national anthem is now optional, according to U.S. Soccer, but questioning that decision is not.
The U.S. Soccer Federation acted Saturday at its annual meeting to rescind a rule passed in 2017 that required all players to stand for the anthem.
The federation’s board of directors had approved the change last year, but it needed to be approved at the meeting to take effect.
Prior to the vote, Seth Jahn, 38, spoke at length against the proposal. Jahn played for the U.S. seven-a-side team in the 2015 Parapan American Games, according to Fox News.
“I’m sure I’m going to ruffle some feathers with what I’m about to say, especially given the Athletes Council that I’m on, but given the evolution of our quote-unquote, progressive culture where everything offends everybody, those willing to take a knee for our anthem don’t care about defending half of our country and when they do so, then I don’t have too much concern in also exercising my First Amendment right,” he said, according to a YouTube recording of the meeting.
“We’re here to give a different perspective. I also feel compelled to articulate that I’m of mixed race and representative of undoubtedly the most persecuted people in our country’s history, Native Americans,” he said, adding that he was part Cherokee.
After deriding ” identity politics” and “politicizing sports,” Jahn said, “95 percent of deaths in Black communities come at the hands of another Black man.”
“I worked in law enforcement in two large agencies alongside my black, brown, white, yellow, red, purple peers, I never once saw a hint of police brutality,” Jahn said.
“Does that mean it doesn’t exist? Absolutely not and it’s important to address those atrocities when they manifest, to exercise critical thinking, and to also rebuke the divisive narrative exacerbated by the media in order to garner their ratings as they exploit our emotive state,” he said.
The vote – 71% in favor with only a simply majority required – directly followed this sensational seven-minute dissent by Seth Jahn, a US Paralympian who is a current member US Soccer Athlete Council. pic.twitter.com/vH4Pc4vkT4
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) February 27, 2021
“I keep hearing how our country was founded on the backs of slaves, even though approximately only eight percent of the entire population even owned slaves,” Jahn said.
“Every race in the history of mankind has been enslaved by another demographic at some point time. Blacks have been enslaved. Hispanics have been enslaved. Asians most recently in our country in the freaking 20th century, have been enslaved. Natives have been enslaved. Whites have been enslaved. Shoot, I lived in Africa for two and a half years where I could purchase people, slaves, between the price of $300 and $800 per person, per head depending on their age, health and physicality,” he said.
“Where were the social justice warriors and the news journalists there to bring their ruminations to these real atrocities?” he said.
“And yet in all of history, only one country has fought to abolish slavery, the United States of America, where nearly 400,000 men died to fight for the abolishment of slavery underneath the same stars and bars that our athletes take a knee for. Their sacrifice is tainted with every knee that touches the ground,” he said.
U.S. Soccer’s Athletes Council later removed Jahn because he “violated the prohibited conduct’s policy section on harassment, which prohibits racial or other harassment based upon a person’s protected status (race), including any verbal act in which race is used or implied in a manner which would make a reasonable person uncomfortable.”
“The athlete’s council does not tolerate this type of language and finds it incompatible with membership on the council. While the council understands that each person has a right to his or her own opinion, there are certain opinions that go beyond the realm of what is appropriate or acceptable,” the council said in its statement.
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