After repealing its controversial rule that required players to stand for the national anthem last week, U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone apologized for the federation “not being leaders in this fight.”
Speaking during the federation’s board of directors meeting, Parlow Cone said that repealing the rule “was just the first step.” U.S. Soccer will launch a diversity, equity and inclusion council, as well other related initiatives. “This is not about short term initiatives. This is about writing these ideals into our DNA, so they are informing every decision we make moving forward,” she said.
U.S. Soccer’s decision to allow players to kneel or protest during the anthem drew ire from politicians. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said, “I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem.” President Donald Trump shared the same sentiments, tweeting, “I won’t be watching much anymore!”
U.S Soccer also announced it’s facing a projected $28 million deficit for the 2020 fiscal year, more than the budgeted $11.1 million shortfall. While revenue was lower than projected, U.S. Soccer’s expenses were $14.1 million more than originally budgeted for, including higher legal costs, which were largely related to the equal pay lawsuit from the U.S. Women’s National Team.