Member of U.S. Soccer athletes' council removed after racist speech supporting anti-kneeling rule

Liz Roscher
·3 min read

Paralympian Seth Jahn was removed from the U.S. Soccer athletes' council on Sunday after he made a racist speech in support of the infamous anti-kneeling rule, which was officially repealed on Saturday.

The athletes' council released a statement on Sunday about Jahn's comments and their decision to remove him from the council.

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At least two-thirds of the council voted to remove Jahn, determining that his comments had violated the "Prohibited Conduct Policy's section on harassment."

What did Jahn say?

Before the athletes' council voted on Saturday to affirm the repeal of Policy 604-1, the controversial anti-protest rule that was established in response to Megan Rapinoe kneeling in support of Colin Kaepernick, Jahn made remarks in support of the policy and made it clear that he did not want it to be repealed.

Jahn, a 38-year-old Florida man who represented the US at the 2015 Parapan American Games on the seven-a-side team, spoke for several minutes and used numerous racist, white supremacist talking points, and argued that peaceful protests "taint" the sacrifice made by military members.

Via the Associated Press:

“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.”

“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 2 1/2 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.”

Paralympic soccer player Seth Jahn has been removed from the U.S. Soccer Federation's athletes' council after he gave a racist speech in support of the anti-kneeling rule.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Paralympic soccer player Seth Jahn has been removed from the U.S. Soccer Federation's athletes' council after he gave a racist speech in support of the anti-kneeling rule. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

U.S. Soccer's response

Immediately following Jahn's tirade during the meeting, U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone restated that the Federation unequivocally supports its athletes' right to protest.

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

Despite Jahn's comments, 71.34 percent of the council voted to repeal Policy 604-1.

U.S. Soccer released a statement on Saturday about Jahn's racist remarks, as did council member and USWNT legend Alex Morgan.

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