UPDATED to add US Soccer’s statement on Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe once again took a knee during the national anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protests to bring attention to issues of inequality surrounding black Americans.
This time she did it in a USWNT jersey during an international match, before the United States took on Thailand.
The first time Rapinoe took a knee was during an NWSL game on September 4, when the Seattle Reign played the Chicago Red Stars. That was followed by an intense brouhaha over the nature and form of protest when Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch played the anthem early while teams were in their locker rooms to deny Rapinoe the opportunity to kneel.
There was plenty of chatter before the match about what Rapinoe would do. Jill Ellis was asked at a pre-game press conference for her opinion and said “There’s a myriad of things that our players are concerned about. But I also think that when you bring it to a team environment, you bring it to everybody...for me personally when it comes to utilizing a team platform for an individual agenda, I think I will always put team first and would want the individuals to put team first. Now, do you have absolute control over what people say? Obviously you do not.”
The team is playing this game in Columbus, Ohio, where another deadly police shooting of a black child occurred the day before the game, an incident which perhaps may have spurred Rapinoe to continue her protest, though she has not yet been asked for comment on the issue.
Rapinoe took her knee and the game continued. As of this writing, the United States is leading Thailand 4-0 after the first half.
UPDATE: US Soccer released this statement at the end of the game:
“Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer’s National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer. In front of national and often global audiences, the playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men’s and Women’s National Team players and coaches to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country. 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.”