(WEAR) – Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is calling out the U.S. Soccer Federation for allowing its players not to stand for the national anthem.
The U.S. Soccer Federation oversees the men's and women's national teams. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, it voted this week to repeal a policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem before matches.
Rep. Gaetz tweeted Thursday:
"I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem. You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised."
U.S. Soccer initiated a ban on kneeling during the anthem in 2017 after Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the national anthem in support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started taking a knee before games in 2016 to protest police brutality.
However, the kneeling received heavy backlash from President Donald Trump and others, saying it was disrespectful to the American Flag and the country. Kaepernick has not been on an NFL team since 2017.
Following George Floyd's death while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the league was "wrong" for how it handled national anthem protests.
The NFL overturned its own policy last week that called for punishing players who kneeled during the anthem. U.S. Soccer then followed on Wednesday.
Since then, Rep. Gaetz has tweeted "Why not just go full woke and remove the “U.S.” altogether?" and "Defund US Soccer!"
His latest tweet on the matter reads: "I don’t care enough about soccer to have a US Soccer team that disrespects the flag they play under."