Players kneel in protest after NWSL change national anthem policy
Following moves by the MLS and the NFL, the NWSL altered national anthem policy allowing their players to peacefully protest during the national anthem.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) resumed on Saturday, starting the first matches since the coronavirus pandemic stopped the competition. Before the first game, players from North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns took a knee out on the field as the national anthem was played.
Every single player on the pitch was wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, sending a powerful message as the tournament restarted. The national anthem will still be played before games, but under new policy, players will not be required to be out on the field.
“We began this tournament with several important goals. Develop a safe environment for the continuation of sport. Create an innovative competition to showcase the vitality of women’s soccer. Collaborate with our players association and develop a genuine partnership. Raise revenue to fund player compensation…
"And support and empower players to use their platforms to make the world a better place. So we are going to continue to play the national anthem, but with even more flexibility and support each player’s right to express their individual views or not,” NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement.
The rules were first changed by the MLS and the NFL as thousands of Americans protested the death of George Floyd which sparked the “Black Lives Matter” movement all over the United States and other parts of the world.