Megan Rapinoe has written a piece for The Players’ Tribune explaining further why she is kneeling during the American anthem before games.
“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,” Rapinoe writes.
She brings up police brutality and Tyre King, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio the night before the United States played Thailand there. But she also discusses her ongoing attempts to connect to community leaders and the Black Lives Matter movement, which is important to note as being the original focus of Rapinoe’s kneeling.
Carli Lloyd recently called Rapinoe’s protest “distracting,” though she seemed to mean it in an extremely literal way and not that it was, in and of itself, a mere distraction. “People are only talking about the kneeling aspect of it,” said Lloyd of Rapinoe’s actions, and she has a point. Media coverage of Rapinoe kneeling often goes directly into discussions of what is and is not appropriate with respect to the American flag and the anthem without discussing why Rapinoe is kneeling. This essay from her is a good reminder to pay attention to issues of police brutality, racial profiling, the disproportionate incarceration of black people, and discriminatory news coverage.
“Having these kinds of conversations can be difficult and complex, but so what?,” Rapinoe writes. “We should talk to our family members and challenge them, bringing these hard problems to the dinner table and persevering through uncomfortable conversations. This is not a ‘them’ problem — this is an ‘us’ problem.”