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How US Soccer can take a stance on overturning Roe v Wade

US Soccer Roe Wade

On June 25, 2022, US Soccer released a statement responding to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade. That decision, coming from Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization, took away a women’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Here is what U.S. Soccer released a day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court ruling on 24 June is counter to the freedoms promised as a nation and as a people. US Soccer will advocate at every opportunity for human rights, including the right to make personal healthcare decisions as there is no equality without bodily autonomy. As our National Teams continue to play in states across the country, U.S. Soccer will continue to use our platform to fight for fundamental human rights, inclusion, tolerance, freedom and equality.”

It is refreshing to see U.S. Soccer’s quick response. In previous instances of players voicing up their opinions on social issues, U.S. Soccer is not famous for its timeliness and sincerity. The federation did not support the Black Lives Matter Movement until the murder of George Floyd. Before then, U.S. Soccer issued a ban on kneeling during the National Anthem. USWNT star Megan Rapinoe knelt in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Perhaps the leadership change from Sunil Gulati and Carlos Cordeiro to Cindy Parlow Cone factors into this corporate activism.

With this statement, U.S. Soccer made a commitment. The soccer organization must hold true to that decision. This is particularly true with the 2026 World Cup coming in less than four years.

US Soccer potential reaction to Roe v Wade overturn

Four years from now, the United States, Mexico, and Canada host the 2026 Men’s World Cup. Currently, U.S. Soccer and FIFA plan to hold games in three host cities where abortion bans are in place. Texas cities Dallas and Houston, along with Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, all came out as hosts just eight days before the Supreme Court ruling. Previously, FIFA expressed concern over the U.S. policy on a ban from Muslim-majority nations during the President Trump administration. Therefore, precedent exists for FIFA to draw ire over political policies in the United States.

Is FIFA likely to alter its plans due to human rights violations for the 2026 World Cup? It is extremely unlikely. The Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups are evidence of that.

Nonetheless, U.S Soccer could pressure and advocate for a change in host cities to reflect new political circumstances. For example, Chicago (Soldier Field), Washington, D.C (FedEx Field), and Denver (Empower Field at Mile High) are all viable options. Chicago voluntarily withdrew while Washington, D.C., and Denver did not get selected by FIFA. None of those states have anti-abortion laws in place. Both Chicago and Washington, D.C., hosted games in the 1994 and 1999 World Cups.

In the past, FIFA moved entire World Cups. The 1986 World Cup moved from Colombia to Mexico. Then, the 2003 Women’s World Cup shifted from China to the United States. Therefore, choosing different host cities is feasible.

Boycotting locations

This form of boycott is not new. In 2016, during the HB2, Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act scandal in North Carolina, sporting organizations pulled their events from North Carolina cities. The NBA, for example, pulled the 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte. These moves and other departures in the tourism section cost the state more than $196 million. U.S. Soccer and FIFA may not be willing to face the potential political backlash.

FIFA ultimately would have the final say in whether or not the 2026 Men’s World Cup host cities would be changed. Yet, it is within U.S. Soccer’s power to propose it. Additionally, U.S. Soccer could refuse to schedule future USMNT and USWNT matches in states with anti-abortion bans indefinitely.

In doing so, U.S. Soccer would demonstrate its willingness to stand up for human rights. This is under not only the magnifying glass of the United States, but under the global spotlight as well. Especially given the further commitment to women’s rights after its recent agreement to pay the USWNT and the USMNT under the same CBA.

These options, especially if U.S. Soccer chose to do both, would hurt Texas and Missouri financially, and potentially warn other states with 2026 Men’s World Cup hosting rights of the economic impact of their decisions. It could also start a domino effect of other sporting organizations.

Yet, if U.S. Soccer only releases more statements and advocacy through gameday messaging, how concrete is its commitment?

PHOTO: YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Alfred Arroyo

    July 10, 2022 at 6:13 am

    It used to be that sports were a celebration of human achievement, the realization of a competitive spirit involving teamwork and passion. It was also an escape from the negative events that are part of life. Sports brought people together and in doing so, sports brought nations and cultures together. Now, the media is encouraging the incursion of politics in sports, soiling the spirit and intent of competitive performance. Of course, athletes, as citizens, are entitled to their own opinions. Such opinions can be expressed in other forums that are appropriate and relevant. A league pandering to political interest counters and reduces the very purpose of sports. Leave politics to the C-Span and other national broadcasters and opinion shows. Sports is about cultural connections, unity, and the one identity that embraces all of us, being Human.

    • Buckles

      July 10, 2022 at 9:08 pm

      Well said, sir.

  2. Jose Hilario

    July 8, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    I enjoy this site cause it leaves politics out of the discussions about soccer, or at least it had been mostly doing that. smh

  3. John D

    July 8, 2022 at 11:51 am

    This article by Arrow Salkeld has to be the worst article I’ve ever read on worldsoccertalk. With a little over four months until the World Cup in Qatar our focus should be on young, talented U.S. team that has the ability to go further than any other team we’ve ever had.All of our efforts should be directed at defeating Wales, England, and Iran, and not an intramural squabble about 2026 host cities. Regardless of your feelings about abortion, Roe v. Wade was a poorly reasoned, badly written opinion that was never going to stand the test of time.

  4. JP

    July 7, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    This is why many of us hate politics and sports mixing. What is usually a site filled with good natured comments (even when disagreeing) about our love of the game has devolved into a bad Facebook like pissing match.

    Sports brings us together, politics divides. The sad fact is most of the country is probably in much agreement on this issue…exceptions for rape and life of mother, banned after a certain number of weeks/months, etc. But the extremes on both sides frame this as an all or nothing battle for the ages. The court decision kicks this back to the States and the electorate can vote for candidates or ballot measures with who/what they agree with most on this particular issue.

    • Chris

      July 8, 2022 at 2:24 am

      Agreed. I turn on a football match to watch football. Not listen to the latest “social justice” lecture. Not to witness the latest virtue signal. I don’t need spoiled brat, overpaid footballers telling me how to live. Sport is supposed to be an escape from the everyday world. That escape is needed now, more than ever.

    • Buckles

      July 8, 2022 at 10:40 am

      Absolutely agree JP. And why does US Soccer need to get involved in this anyway? Stay out of politics. Many different people with many different political positions watch soccer. We don’t need one viewpoint rammed down our throats. My goodness when will these dolts realize this.

  5. El Jefe

    July 7, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    It would be absolute suicide for US soccer to give the middle finger to their Christian fanbase and jump on the far left political bandwagon just like every other major corporation and sports league. Not everyone in this Country that follows the sport and most certainly those who play the sport is a pro abortion leftist. Especially where soccer is huge in the burbs, Christian college campuses (where soccer is usually one of the top 2 or 3 sports) and latin American communities (who tend to be pro life). Soccer fans in the US have an unlimited number of options to get their fix of soccer and a good potion view the US domestic league and and US soccer as a bit cheesy or subpar quality anyway.

  6. Mercator

    July 7, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    I had no idea there were so many constitutional scholars on this site. For reference, Roe found a limited constitutional right to abortion based on the right to privacy, read through the 5th amendment. To make a literal argument that abortion is not mentioned in the constitution shows a severe lack of understanding on constitutional jurisprudence – Americans have a number of constitutional rights that are not explicitly stated in the document. Now I don’t think the Roe decision was sound, but it also prevented some of the pretty backwards, cruel and theocratic nonsense several states are now able to impose.

    • Mercator

      July 7, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      I mistakenly submitted my comment early – the actual point I was going to make is that US Soccer shouldn’t take any action because this issue is not fully played out yet. US Soccer would put itself in a difficult and embarrassing position if, for example, it spends years trying to remove certain host cities due to their stance on abortion, only for republicans to completely outlaw abortion nationwide before 2026. Will US Soccer then advocate for removing the US as host entirely? I’m not sure there is a firm enough nexus to the game of soccer for US Soccer to wade into this – particularly since the Dobbs decision is likely just the first among many outrageous rulings this court will deliver.

      • Yespage

        July 7, 2022 at 3:21 pm

        This issue is fully played out. Based on the ruling, presuming SCOTUS doesn’t completely just make up a whole new set of rules, implied there is not a majority of justices that’d support a federal ban. Kavanaugh noted the decision made was “neutral”. His poor logic aside, a federal ban would not be neutral, and as they note the Constitution pushes this to the states, it would be unconstitutional for the Federal Government to ban it. Granted, putting any faith in Kavanaugh remaining consistent could be folly, but I’d figure that’d go down 5-4 against a federal ban.

        • Mercator

          July 7, 2022 at 3:32 pm

          The justices do not have to support a federal ban, congress has the ability to legislate on these issues now that the court has found there is no constitutional right to an abortion in certain circumstances. The republicans absolutely will push for a federal ban the moment they have the ability to pass such legislation, and the court cannot stop it short of arguing there is a constitutional right to abortion (which they just overturned). The issue is not done yet and I think US Soccer should carefully consider any position it takes now, as there is a strong chance federal law ends up banning abortion in much the same manner as Texas and Missouri.

          • Yespage

            July 7, 2022 at 4:05 pm

            There is truth in that. It’d be silly to move out of Texas, just for it to be made illegal everywhere else. It should be noted, however, that it won’t be made illegal federally, without eliminating the filibuster.

            • Mercator

              July 7, 2022 at 4:36 pm

              The Republicans will quickly remove the filibuster once they have a simple majority in the Senate, pass everything they want, including a federal abortion ban, and then put the filibuster back in place knowing the Democrats are weak clowns who will not remove the filibuster to pass their own legislation. Remember, Republicans removed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees back in 2017 to sit Gorsuch on the Court. These sort of rules only restrict Democrats because if they do restrict Republicans, Republicans are able and willing to change the rules – Democrats are not. All of which is to say US Soccer should not get ahead of itself here because quite frankly, things will get much worse and US Soccer would be backing itself into a corner by taking a stand now. As this thread shows, this is not a clear cut issue for most people or most American soccer fans.

              • Buckles

                July 8, 2022 at 10:46 am

                You can’t just remove the filibuster so easily. Republicans have never talked about removing the filibuster. Republicans want abortion laws to go to the states. Which is what the constitution intended. There is no right to privacy in the constitution. If enough people want abortion legal in their state, then they will elect representatives to do that.
                Democrats want to remove the filibuster bc they want to add more justices to the Supreme Court. And I am not a Republican or Democrat.

                • Mercator

                  July 8, 2022 at 11:54 am

                  Of course you can, it takes a simple majority in the Senate to remove it. Its absurd and factually incorrect to say the republicans have never talked about removing the filibuster – they literally got rid of the filibuster for the appointment of Supreme Court justices, this is how they were able to sit their 3 most recent appointees! There absolutely is an implied right to privacy written throughout the constitution, in the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments, any constitutional scholar will tell you this. I’m sorry but you are just not well informed. We can argue about the true intentions of republicans (which is obviously a federal ban of abortion and I will follow this up to say I told you do when they do it), but basic facts about how the Senate operates or whether the filibuster has been removed for certain items in the past really are not up for debate – these are facts.

              • Buckles

                July 8, 2022 at 12:56 pm

                Sir, the democrats got rid of the filibuster so that Obama could get his appointments through. Not the republicans. Harry Reid.

                • Buckles

                  July 8, 2022 at 12:59 pm

                  And please show me the implied rights to privacy on abortion in those amendments. You will be looking for a long time bc it isn’t there. Read the 10th amendment. That is why Roe was not adjudicated properly.
                  I was for leaving Roe alone and keeping it the way it was. But they sent it back to the states. There are only 3 or 4 states that want to ban it outright.
                  Now…..let’s get back to soccer.

                • Mercator

                  July 8, 2022 at 1:18 pm

                  Yes, the Democrats did remove the filibuster for lower court appointees. They did not get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court justices, Mitch McConnell did that in 2017 to appoint Gorsuch. The filibuster can be removed (and reimplemented) on a case by case basis, and both parties have done so. Which is why it is absurd and not factual for you to state “Republicans have never talked about removing the filibuster.” when the republicans literally have removed the filibuster on certain matters. You need to get the facts correct before any honest discussion can be had.

                  There absolutely is a constitutional right to privacy, the Supreme Court has ruled as such on multiple occasions, and these decision still stand and are law (Roe was only one among a litany of cases based on this implied right, and frankly multiple legal scholars noted at the time that this was probably not the most appropriate or effective basis upon which to decide Roe). Please read Griswold, the court makes very clear “The Bill of Rights contains “zones of privacy” from the government within the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments.” You also should read the Ninth Amendment, which again makes explicitly clear there are constitutional rights enjoyed by Americans not explicitly enumerated in the constitution itself. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” You are free to have whatever views you want on Roe, I already said it was a case on poor legal foundations, but you need to get the facts correct before any honest discussion can be had. A lot of you just don’t know what you are talking about and are very naive about how politics works or the aims and intentions of both political parties. Again, all the more reason US Soccer should steer clear of these issues – most soccer fans don’t know the first thing about the constitution or how our government functions, as this thread makes very clear.

              • Buckles

                July 8, 2022 at 1:28 pm

                I was referring to removing the filibuster in general. Not just for specific purposes. And if Reid hadn’t used the nuclear option first, the republicans wouldn’t have done it years later to get Gorsuch through.
                I do understand politics and government, especially the Constitution. You still haven’t shown me in the constitution where it talks about abortion being a privacy issue. Could it be that for some it is a matter of life and death and since the country was built upon Judeo-Christian values, the founders didn’t want that in the constitution.
                Abortion is a different level.

                • Yespage

                  July 8, 2022 at 3:05 pm

                  You don’t see how a woman being able to deal with her body is an issue of privacy? Or how the 1st Amendment (association), 3rd Amendment (home can’t house troops), 4th Amendment (secure from search of home or effects without warrant), 5th Amendment (due process) heavily implies a right to privacy?

                  Some Founders didn’t want a Bill of Rights for the precise reason they were afraid of the argument you are making.

                • Buckles

                  July 8, 2022 at 11:15 pm

                  No I do not see how those amendments have anything to do with abortion. And neither did the majority of justices. And the reason why is bc some people see abortion as killing something. Which is way different than anything mentioned in the 1st, 3rd and 4th amendments. Again, I was fine with leaving Roe alone but I understand why they overturned it based on the opinions by the majority on the court.

  7. jason

    July 7, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Do you want to go there WST…..ok the here we go. The US Constitution has NO Right to abortion. That is a 100% by anybody who claims that. So if defaults to the 10th amendment. The states decide on its legality. The feds never ever had authority to regulate or permit abortions either way. The court determined with many pages explaining this that RvW was incorrect legally and Consitutionally.

    I am against abortion but also I should say that there should not ever be a federal ban of it. The hope is that all 50 states individually one day will ban it.

    • Yespage

      July 7, 2022 at 3:16 pm

      There is an obviously implied right to privacy via the first, third, fourth, and fifth amendments. The right to privacy includes that of parental privacy (1920s), marital privacy (1960s). And Roe then said, yes, a woman (married for this case) has the right to herself. This concept shouldn’t be remotely upsetting. What should be upsetting is that Justice Thomas suggested that Griswold (birth control) and Lawrence (decriminalized gay relations) should be revisited now. Of course, Lawrence is built off of Loving v Virginia, which would be a peculiar case for him to want to reverse.

      • jason

        July 7, 2022 at 3:39 pm

        Thomas meant state sponsored gay civil unions. Again not a federal issue. Marriages are issued by states. See the common theme. States needs to be the main governing jurisdictions of the USA. Fedreal gov’t too big to manage. You can’t regulate and make social type laws for a population of 340 million humans now. Feds should there just for a common national defense (which currently is not defending anything) and manage the common currency. States do the rest. I for one support the Article V Convention of states to propose new amendments and repeal bad ones like 16A and 17A.

        ****By the way no mention of soccer on World Soccer Talk. But its WST’s fault for posting an article that half or more of the readers will be furious about.

        • Yespage

          July 7, 2022 at 4:03 pm

          That would be his reference to Obergefell. He also referenced Lawrence which isn’t about civil unions, but the decriminalization of NSFW stuff between men. A case he dissented in. And he also mentioned Griswold (birth control for married couples).

  8. Sam

    July 7, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Wow.

    Last time I’m visiting this site I guess.

    For those in the left-wing media bubble, Roe v Wade was a decision that declared a constitutional right to an abortion, despite there being no mention of abortion in the constitution. All the Dobbs decision does is correct that error. The Democrats could pass a law tomorrow that abortion is legal, they have the votes. They are just choosing not to. If the Democrats want there to be a constitutional right to an abortion, they just have to do what has been done 27 times before in this country and get a constitutional amendment passed and ratified. They would have to win the requisite number of elections, as well as convince a sufficient number of states to ratify. Of course, instead of relying on the democratic process, they just want some unelected dictators making up constitutional rights. I’m curious what is even the point of having a written constitution, having elections, and passing laws if someone thinks all of that should be ignored.

    • Yespage

      July 7, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      Electricity, telephones, internet are also not mentioned in the Constitution, yet Federal regulation of that isn’t all too controversial. Plymouth Argyle is also more likely to win the EPL next season than the US will amend the Constitution in the next 10 years.

  9. Yespage

    July 7, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    “WARNING: Politics is slowly killing sports.”

    – some guy on April 15, 1947

    • Chris

      July 8, 2022 at 2:11 am

      Go woke go broke is happening right now to many businesses in 2022. Business entities like MLS should understand that a large percentage of their customers/fans are on the other side of any public political stand the league takes. Look at what almost happened to the NFL. MLS wouldn’t have survived. Michael Jordan was once asked what his politics were. His agent told him not to answer because Republicans buy sneakers too. MLS should understand that people on the other side of an issue buy tickets too.

      • Yespage

        July 8, 2022 at 12:41 pm

        Woke? This isn’t some hyper-sensitive issue a person has with a label. The Dobbs case is going to have massive repercussions for women in this country. Having an opinion on that doesn’t make one “woke”. It makes them empathetic.

  10. Chris

    July 7, 2022 at 11:39 am

    WARNING: Politics is slowly killing sports.

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