Megan Rapinoe Kneels During National Anthem Before US Women’s National Soccer Team Match

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBSNewYork/AP) — Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the playing of the national anthem once again, this time before the U.S. women’s national soccer team match against Thailand in Columbus, Ohio.

Rapinoe did not start the game against Thailand at Mapfre stadium.

U.S. Soccer said in a statement they expect players and coaches to stand for the anthem.

“As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played,” U.S. Soccer said.

People took to social media to sound off on the kneel-down, as she received both praise and criticism for her decision.

This is the second time Rapinoe has knelt during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a game. The first time came at a National Women’s Soccer League game between her Seattle Reign and the Chicago Red Stars. She called it “a little nod” to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand this season for the anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

“I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country,” Rapinoe told the website American Soccer Now.

She went on to say: “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.”

Last week, the Washington Spirit prevented the 31-year-old from kneeling during the national anthem by altering its pregame ceremonies. The team moved up the anthem, playing it while both the Spirit and Reign were off the field.

“We decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent,” the Spirit said in a statement. “We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise.”

The Spirit said team owner Bill Lynch is a veteran who has lost friends in overseas conflicts, as had his close friends.

“The tradition of honoring our military and our patriotism before our games is very important to us,” the statement said. “We strongly feel that there are better ways to begin a conversation about a cause than tarnishing a tradition that is so important to so many.”

The Reign said they are standing by Rapinoe. In a statement, the team said it recognizes Rapinoe’s action “was offensive to some and a source of inspiration to others.”

“We empathize with those offended, as we understand that the playing of the national anthem is one of our nation’s most revered public celebrations, honoring the sacrifices that have been made — and continue to be made — by those serving in our armed forces,” the statement reads. “At the same time, we see many inspired by Megan’s decision, as the courage she exhibited by acting on her beliefs empowers others to take action as well.”

At a game Sunday night in Seattle, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she stood and linked arms with her Reign teammates.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. John Moll says:

    Rapine did not represent the USA – She represented herself. As part of wearing the USA uniform she should stand and be proud of America. If she cannot – then she should be kicked-off the team. If I was the coach she would not have been allowed to play and she be would have been removed from the sidelines. Where in her own time she can do and speak to who or what she feels like. All the veterans and people who died and sacrificed gave her that freedom.

  2. JAMES F. RYAN says:

    She would have made a more impactful statement by quitting the National Team.
    After all why represent a country that you are so ashamed of that you won’t stand for the anthem. The USWNT should do her and its’ fans a favor and toss Ms. Rapinoe off the team.

  3. I think they stated it very nicely. Its a privilege to play for the US team so stand up and show some
    some respect. If not go play for a third world country. She is mediocre player who just seeking attention.

  4. Dcash says:

    Shame on you Megan Rapinoe. You were my favorite player with the national team that is until now. I hope you are removed from the team for your stunt. If the WNT let’s you get by with disgracing your country then I am thru with women’s soccer.

  5. dhdelaney says:

    The shame is on US Soccer. Hopefully before toooo long they will understand the simplicity and love shown by the young lady

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