Iran's government is reportedly very unhappy with the U.S. men's national team after American players supported Iranian protestors by briefly displaying the country's flag without the Iranian Republic emblem on social media ahead of Tuesday's Group B match.
The nation's government reacted by accusing the United States of "removing the name of God" from its country's flag and even called for the USMNT's suspension from the Cup altogether.
By Sunday, Iran's original flag was restored on all posts. But the USSF was clear as to why the flag was altered.
“We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours,” the federation said.
Federation spokesperson Neil Buethe also spoke on the matter but would not reveal if USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone signed off on the display.
This was a decision within the federation. I’m not going to get into who knew and who didn’t. ... This is our decision not anyone else’s or pressure from anyone else.
U.S. defenseman Walker Zimmerman touched on the posts as well, saying that players were unaware of what transpired.
“We didn’t know anything about the posts but we are supporters of women’s rights,” Zimmerman said. “We’re focused a lot on Tuesday, on the sporting side, as well. ... I think it’s such a focused group on the task but at the same time we empathize and we are firm believers in women’s rights and support them.”