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CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. women’s national team wants the U.S. Soccer Federation to repeal the anthem policy it instituted after Megan Rapinoe started kneeling during the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The U.S. women’s team also wants the federation to state publicly that the policy was wrong and issue an apology to the team’s black players and supporters.

“Further, we believe the Federation should lay out its plans on how it will now support the message and movement that it tried to silence four years ago,” the U.S. women’s team said in a statement posted on the Twitter feed of its players association Monday night.

Rapinoe took a knee during the anthem at a pair of national team matches in 2016. She said she wanted to express solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who silently took a knee during the national anthem before NFL games to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.

The U.S. Soccer Federation then approved a policy in February 2017 that stated players “shall stand respectfully” during national anthems. The policy remains in place, though the unions for the men’s and women’s teams believe it doesn’t apply to their players because of their collective bargaining agreements.

Kaepernick and Rapinoe each faced sharp criticism for the protest for years. But public sentiment has changed since George Floyd’s death last month.

Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and saying that he couldn’t breathe. His death sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the country, some of which became violent.

A lawyer for the men’s team union also called for the repeal of the policy and an apology in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, which was the first to report on the U.S. women’s statement.

A message was left by the AP seeking comment from the federation.

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Eriksen returns to Milan after cardiac arrest at Euros

MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen is back in Italy for the first time since his near-tragic collapse at the European Championship.

Italian media reports Eriksen landed in Milan on Tuesday and has already met with Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta.

In one of the scariest scenes in soccer history, Eriksen fell face-first onto the field during Denmark’s opening match against Finland on June 12. His teammates formed a protective wall around him as medical workers resuscitated him with a defibrillator.

The 29-year-old Eriksen spent a week in the hospital, where he had a type of pacemaker fitted, before going home to Denmark to recover. He has also undergone a raft of medical tests to discover the cause for the cardiac arrest.

Eriksen will undergo further tests in Italy and is not expected to be back on a soccer field for at least six months.

Depending on the cause of the cardiac arrest and the nature of his treatment, he could be prohibited from playing in Italy but could continue his career in England or the Netherlands where the rules are different.

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Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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