Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz announced on Friday he would be drafting legislation aimed at the U.S. Soccer Federation’s reversal of its policy prohibiting kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality.
As the USSF stated on Tuesday, it reversed what was known as the Megan Rapinoe Rule that required players to stand for the national anthem, after Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
“I certainly think that we have the right to compel that our national team stand for the national anthem,” Gaetz said on his podcast. “While our anthem is playing, while you serve on the team, I think there is an obligation to respect our country.”
Two road blocks:
1) The measure would violate FIFA’s ban on third-party interference in the business of national federations. This, as Anne Peterson of the Associated Press points out, would be especially problematic given the United States is set to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside Mexico and Canada.
2) While we don’t know the specifics of the bill, which are scheduled to be released on Saturday evening, it seems likely to clash with the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment, which reads as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”