Saturday, March 4, 2017

'Scuse me while I roll my eyes

This new US Soccer "stand for the anthem or else" policy is silly, as is the fact that punishment for disobeying the edict will not be uniform. Not only is this policy decidedly un-American, it's all set up to be unevenly judged. And I hate to break it to Soccer House, but (whether or not it is intended to be) it also reeks of being one more way to exert control over the ladies.

NEWSFLASH: Forced nationalism (on a case-by-case basis, no less) is not patriotic and protest is not inherently disrespectful.

Thumbs down. Unreservedly.




- Greg Seltzer

12 comments:

Micah said...

Sorry, but if youre going to represent the USA you should be required to stand for the anthem. There are a lot more productive ways to air your grievances and speak your mind than kneeling for the national anthem. It serves no purpose other than to alienate people and make it harder for a rational dialogue to be had. Not to mention these players are getting paid, which makes it more out of the question. Oh and the white girl who knelt? Its called pandering for publicity. We are all victims now apparently.

JustinV said...

count me in with Greg. If you represent this country you represent one of it's founding principals which is peaceful dissent. It's protected by the Constitution. I've never read anything there about acts of loyalty being required.

Sorry, Micah, but I don't buy your angle at all. Kneeling serves as a demonstration and there may be better ways of doing it but there are also worse. What demonstration or protest action would you recommend that would be better? Just because the protest may alienate you or some others doesn't mean that that is it's intended purpose. It's purpose is to draw attention so when people ask why that player is kneeling they can state their case. Just because you don't like what they have to say doesn't make it disrespectful.

Are you you a victim of these protests? It sure sounds like you feel like you are. Protesting for the rights of a group of people whom you may not be included in doesn't mean you think you're a victim, it means you believe that they are being treated unfairly. Have you never stuck up for a friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger who was being mistreated?

Tom said...

I agree with Greg. One of my biggest worries is the non-uniformity issue--discipline standards (if this counts as one) must be clear, uniform, and as objective as possible. That's beyond the notion that we'd *force* *anyone* to commit *any act* of political speech.

Micah said...

I dont allow myself to be victimized in the first place. And no it doesnt "threaten" me or my beliefs. I dont see how kneeling for something you supposedly believe in solves any problem. And bringing "awareness" please...turn on your tv its everywhere. If you arent aware you have your head in the sand. If you really want to find a solution, have a constructive dialogue with the opposing side and find common ground. All these displays do is divide people into tribalistc groups who view eachother as moral enemies. And no constructive dialogue can be had.

And to me there is a big difference between protestesting the national anthem as a professional athlete, and doing so as a paid representative of the USA. You want to protest the USA thats perfectly fine, but dont accept the fat check you get for being there, its morally dubious.

Dany Tzvi said...

Meh. Theyre not diplomats, theyre footballers. We're cool letting guys and gals who are only vaguely american at all play for our team, but the people born and raised here who want to protest cant? If it was about representing the country, aron johansson and sydney leroux wouldn't be out there. Its about playing soccer, and USSF should worry about the soccer part.

Not trying to be xenophobic, mind you. I think we should get the best players we can get to play for us. Just trying to show that it should be about soccer.

Micah said...

Thats partly my point as well. People tune in to watch the game, and hear commentary about said game. When things like this happen, the game takes a back seat to what happens for 60 seconds of a routine anthem. It detracts from the game itself, and can really divide a locker room. At the end of the day its a freaking sport and youre a well payed athlete. Nobody is tuning in for political reasons. IMHO Rapinoe doing what she did leads to less people tuning in to womens soccer, which leads to less revenue and an even bigger pay gap between men in women at the NT level.

Dany Tzvi said...

i mean, no it is not a distraction and no it is not divisive. a) the players don't give a shit. b) if you're not tuning in for political reasons, then you shouldn't give a shit about anybody taking a freaking knee during some... how did you put it?... routine 60 second song.

Any fans who will turn their TV off for a flag protest already turned it off when Abby Wambach kissed her wife in Vancouver.

Micah said...

I worded the way i did precisely because i dont care. This isnt because im outraged at these things. I just feel like its disingenuous to say this infringes on civil rights and free speech to force players to stand for the anthem when; A) you choose to accept the call up knowing full well what that entails and B) you accept the check given to you for appearing in said call up. Thus making you an employee and subject to company policy. Just because its legal to smoke weed in California doesnt mean i cant get fired from my job for testing positive for it. And i wouldnt claim it was an infringement on my rights if i was. If players really want to take a stand they can not accept the call up and the check it entails.

DaM said...

Some of what you say is true Micah. If the "company" setting the policy you reference is literally the US government then you, quite obviously, can be faced with 1st amendment issues. Private businesses can require whatever they want (within legal parameters). The US government, however, cannot infringe on things like the first amendment. Moreover, it is clearly within congress' purview to pass laws that prevent private entities from doing whatever they want (see: discrimination laws). US Soccer, I believe, is a non-profit but does get funding from the USOC. While it seems clear that US Soccer can set requirements for its players, it is less clear whether they could get away with infringing on First Amendment rights... at the very least without losing USOC funding as well as potentially the very valuable advertising revenue that comes with being supported by the USOC as America's soccer organization.

But really isn't this more a question of what *seems* right than what is legally right? If there is one thing that is the epitome of being american, it seems like it is freedom of speech. Should an entity that purports to be THE american soccer entity, a focal point for athletic nationalism, be in the practice of infringing on freedom of speech, regardless of the legality? I would assert pretty strongly that the answer is no.

The question isn't whether you or I agree with Rapinoe's stance (or... sit?) but whether we think non violent protestations like this should be silenced because they make some faux nationalists uncomfortable.

JustinV said...

So if it doesn't threaten you or your beliefs why do you care? You're saying you believe it's wrong to protest during the national anthem, but why? There is no law requiring respect for the national anthem. And I don't think kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful anyway. It's disrespectful because it's not the custom? Does it stop others from standing with hand over heart? And why do you think these protests to be so divisive and antagonistic? Why can't they be the start of a constructive dialogue? Aren't people responsible for how they react to a protest as much as the people protesting have a responsibility to be "respectful" in their demonstration?

Micah, you are aware the US Soccer is a private organization with no government affiliation or sanction, right? FIFA doesn't even allow for actual governmental sanction. So they do not officially represent the United States. They are not paid with tax money. The are the only the team that is sanctioned by FIFA to represent the US. They are not like the military or government employees. They are not paid representatives of the US. Period. The only moral dubiousness is being part of FIFA.

UnitedDemon said...

People who think others should be forced to do anything in accordance with any flag is at best petty and at worst horribly corrosive to many of the freedoms that flag represents.

No one should be forced, that's not what we should be about. Really, people, this isn't defensible. Protesting what you view to be injustice always is, by the values we should be upholding.

Patrick said...

The camera pans across the USWNT as the Anthem is played; Carli Lloyd holds up a copy of her book...

Is this ok with everyone? If not, why not? She is expressing herself. I'm a 1A stickler, but this isn't a 1A issue. Can a player play in a different jersey? No, because FIFA says so. Is that an infringement on that players 1A rights? Of course not, they agree to FIFA rules when they signed up. They agree to USSF rules when they agree to play for the national team. If the rules of employment say you stand for the NA, then you stand or don't play. Kneeling and collecting the paycheck is not as interesting a protest to me as refusing to play and not getting a paycheck.