An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team kneeling during the national anthem at the Tokyo Olympics.
While the U.S. women’s national soccer team did kneel before its match against Sweden, the action did not occur during the national anthem. The photo included in the Facebook post was taken in February at the SheBelieves Cup.
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) updated its rules to allow athletes to make gestures of protest in limited circumstances, including “on the field of play prior to the start of the competition (i.e. after leaving the ‘call room’ (or similar area) or during the introduction of the individual athlete or team),” according to an IOC press release. Such gestures, the IOC said, must not be “disruptive” or “targeted, directly or indirectly, against people, countries, organizations and/or their dignity.”
Following the U.S. women’s team’s July 21 loss to Sweden in the Games, some social media users started sharing a photo of eight U.S. players kneeling while three stand with their hands over their hearts, claiming it was taken during the national anthem at the Olympics. One such post reads, “WHEN YOU BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU… U.S. women’s team kneeling in black lives matter jackets during the national anthem right before the Olympic soccer game; they lost 3-0 to Sweden.”
While the U.S. women’s soccer team did kneel before their game against Sweden, they did not do so during the national anthem. Both the American and Swedish teams knelt before the start of the game while pregame music played in the stadium, according to Yahoo! Sports and Today. All of the U.S. women’s soccer team players stood for the national anthem before the July 21 game, Yahoo! Sports also reported. (RELATED: Did Media And Sponsors ‘Ignore’ Olympian Kim Rhode Because She Is Pro-Second Amendment?)
The photo featured in the Facebook post making the misleading claim was actually taken back in February at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup in Orlando Florida. The Getty Images caption for the picture reads, “Julie Ertz #8, Lindsey Horan #9 and Carli Lloyd #10 of United States stand during the United States national anthem against Canada during the SheBelieves Cup at Exploria Stadium on February 18, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.”
Other women’s soccer teams such as New Zealand and Great Britain knelt before their opening matches at the Tokyo Olympics, according to NBC News. IOC President Thomas Bach said the kneeling is “allowed” and is “not a violation” of the IOC’s rules, CNN reported.