US Soccer athletes council removes member after racially charged speech – The Guardian

USA

Agencies

The US Soccer Federation’s athletes’ council removed one its members Sunday, a day after he made a speech at the federation’s annual general meeting against removing an anti-kneeling policy.

Seth Jahn, a 38-year-old from Florida who played for the US seven-a-side Paralympic team, spoke against the repeal of what was known as Policy 604-1, put in place in response to US women’s team star Megan Rapinoe kneeling in support of Colin Kaepernick.

The USSF board voted to repeal the policy in June, a decision the online annual meeting affirmed Saturday by 71.34% voting in favor of repeal.

“I’m sure I’m going to ruffle some feathers with what I’m about to say, especially given the athletes council that I’m on, but given the evolution of our quote-unquote, progressive culture where everything offends everybody, those willing to take a knee our for anthem don’t care about defending half of our country and when they do so, then I don’t have too much concern in also exercising my First Amendment right,” Jahn said before the vote. “We’re here to get a different perspective. I also feel compelled to articulate that I’m of mixed race and representative of undoubtedly the most persecuted people in our country’s history, Native-Americans.”

Claiming he was citing FBI statistics, Jahn said “95% of deaths in black communities come at the hands of another black man”.

The vote – 71% in favor with only a simply majority required – directly followed this sensational seven-minute dissent by Seth Jahn, a US Paralympian who is a current member US Soccer Athlete Council. pic.twitter.com/vH4Pc4vkT4

— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) February 27, 2021

“I keep hearing how our country was founded on the backs of slaves, even though approximately only 8% of the entire population even owned slaves,” he said. “Every race in the history of mankind has been enslaved by another demographic at some point time. Blacks have been enslaved. Hispanics have been enslaved. Asians most recently in our country in the freaking 20th century, have been enslaved. Natives have been enslaved. Whites have been enslaved. Shoot, I lived in Africa for two and a half years where I could purchase people, slaves, between the price of $300 and $800 per person, per head depending on their age, health and physicality.


“Where were the social justice warriors and the news journalists there to bring their ruminations to these these real atrocities? And yet in all of history, only one country has fought to abolish slavery, the United States of America, where nearly 400,000 men died to fight for the abolishment of slavery underneath the same stars and bars that our athletes take a knee for. Their sacrifice is tainted with every with every knee that touches the ground.”

He suggested that athletes would wish to take a knee do so on their own individual platforms, but not while representing the US on a soccer field.

USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone followed Jahn and urged repeal.

“This is not about disrespecting the flag or about disrespecting the military,” she said. “This is about the athletes and our staff’s right to peacefully protest racial inequalities and police brutality.”


The athlete’s council said in a statement Sunday that Jahn “violated the prohibited conduct’s policy section on harassment, which prohibits racial or other harassment based upon a person’s protected status (race), including any verbal act in which race is used or implied in a manner which would make a reasonable person uncomfortable. The athlete’s council does not tolerate this type of language and finds it incompatible with membership on the council. While the council understands that each person has a right to his or her own opinion, there are certain opinions that go beyond the realm of what is appropriate or acceptable.”

The council said it “wants to be unequivocable in its condemnation of the statements that Mr Jahn made yesterday”.

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