On-field protests of “The Star Spangled Banner” moved from the gridiron to the pitch on Sunday.
U.S. Women’s National Team member Megan Rapinoe refused to stand during the national anthem before a Seattle Reign game against the Chicago Red Stars in Illinois. The teams played to a 2-2 stalemate. Just over 3,000 people attended the match.
“It was very intentional,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now. “It was a little nod to [Colin] Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. 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.”
Kaepernick sat during the national anthem before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium a week ago Friday. He took a knee, with teammate Eric Reid joining him, during the song on Saturday on the road in San Diego. Defensive back Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks sat in Oakland during “The Star Spangled Banner” that same night.
Rapinoe called herself “disgusted” by the “overtly racist” reception to Kaepernick’s protest. “We are not saying we are not one [of] the greatest countries in world,” she told espnW’s Julie Foudy. “Just need to accept that [it is] not perfect, things are broken.”
She responded to a tweet from Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King after Sunday’s soccer match:
It’s the least I can do. Keep the conversation going. https://t.co/qwfHcqgV6J
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) September 5, 2016
Rapinoe won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and played a crucial role in securing a victory for the American women at the 2015 World Cup. She boasts 31 goals in international play for the U.S. women’s team.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she told American Soccer Now. “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. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”