US Soccer Star Kneels Before National Team Game

US Soccer says it expects players to stand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2016 1:27 AM CDT
Megan Rapinoe, second from left, kneels during the playing of the national anthem before the soccer match against Thailand on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.   (Kyle Robertson)

(Newser) – Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem before a US women's national team match against Thailand on Thursday night, the AP reports. Rapinoe first knelt during the anthem Sept. 4 before a game with her National Women's Soccer League team, the Seattle Reign. Rapinoe, a devoted advocate for LGBT rights, said she wanted to express solidarity with San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick. After Thursday's game in Columbus, Ohio—which the US won 9-0—US Soccer issued a statement to ESPN that said representing the country is a "privilege and honor" for any player or coach associated with the national team.

"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," the statement said. "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." It was unclear whether Rapinoe would face any sanctions from the federation. "I'm very proud to pull on this shirt and play for this country, and also represent my country in a different way in speaking out for people that are oppressed," she told ESPN. (The owner of the Washington Spirit foiled Rapinoe's protest before a game last week.)

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