Megan Rapinoe won't fight U.S. Soccer's anthem policy
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe will no longer kneel during the national anthem in appearances with the national team.
Last week, the U.S. Soccer Federation passed Policy 604-1, which essentially required all federation players and staff to stand during the anthems before national team matches. This was in response to the anthem protests carried out by Rapinoe.
Rapinoe put aside the uncertainty of her protest on Monday, saying in a statement through her agent that she will honor U.S. Soccer’s new policy.
“It is an honor to represent the USA and all that we stand for – to be able to pull on the red, white and blue to play a game that I love. I will respect the new bylaw the leadership at USSF has put forward. That said, I believe we should always value the use of our voice and platform to fight for equality of every kind.”
Back in September, Rapinoe became the first non-black professional athlete to kneel during the national anthem in support of Kaepernick’s protest before a match with the NWSL’s Seattle Reign. Later that week, the Washington Spirit preemptively blocked Rapinoe’s ability to protest by playing the anthems while the teams were in the dressing rooms – a move that Rapinoe called “(expletive) unbelievable.”
But that was with her club team.
In October, however, Rapinoe continued her protest before a USWNT friendly against Thailand. It was a significant moment as she took a knee while wearing the national team crest. U.S. Soccer slammed the decision in a statement, which ultimately led to the policy passed last week. Still, Rapinoe’s protest was an unprecedented moment for the national team.
Rapinoe then explained her decision to kneel with the national team in a powerful essay with The Players’ Tribune. She wrote then:
I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way. When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of freedom – because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.
Rapinoe was left off the roster for this month’s SheBelieves Cup, and as U.S. Soccer’s policy came forward, there was a mixed reaction. Former USMNT star Alexi Lalas strongly supported U.S. Soccer’s decision.
While there was plenty of criticism.
As of now, it is unclear if Rapinoe will continue her protest with the Seattle Reign.
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