US Soccer council member removed after controversial speech

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Some members of the United States team kneel during the playing of the national anthem before a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match against Canada, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

CHICAGO – The U.S. Soccer Federation’s Athlete Council removed one of its members Sunday, a day after incendiary comments he made at the federation’s annual general meeting against removing an anti-kneeling policy.

The Athlete Council called out Seth Jahn's comment at the meeting Saturday, saying they “moved beyond a difference of opinion on policy, and into disinformation and offensive rhetoric.”

At a meeting Sunday, the council voted to remove Jahn for violation of its prohibited conduct policy.

Jahn, who played for the U.S. seven-a-side ParaOlympic team at the 2015 Parapan American Games, spoke against repeal of what was known as Policy 604-1, put in place in response to U.S. women’s team star Megan Rapinoe kneeling in support of Colin Kaepernick.

The USSF board of directors voted to repeal the policy last 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 for our 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, pointing out his own Native American heritage.

Claiming he was citing FBI statistics, Jahn said “95% of deaths in black communities come at the hands of another black man.” He also veered into slavery, citing dubious statistics, and claimed every athlete who takes a knee during the anthem disrespects the soldiers who fought against slavery in the Civil War.

“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."