Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice in the US appears to be slowly spreading with the soccer international Megan Rapinoe kneeling during the national anthem before Seattle Reign’s NWSL game against the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday.
U.S. soccer star and Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe was prevented by the opposing team, the Washington Spirit, Wednesday night from kneeling during the National Anthem after the Spirit altered its pregame ceremonies.
The Spirit released a statement prior to the match, saying they would rather move up the Anthem while the teams were off the field than “subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent.”
“We decided to play the Anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent,” the National Women’s Soccer League team said in a statement. “We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise.
“To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to millions of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves.”
Rapinoe kneeled during the National Anthem Sunday before the Reign’s match against the Chicago Red Stars in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the Anthem to protest racial injustice and minority oppression. She said at the time she planned to continue to kneel.
After the match, Rapinoe called the Spirit’s actions “unbelievable.”
“It was incredibly distasteful, four days before one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say I tried to hijack this event,” she added, per The Washington Post.
During the match, a group of supporters yelled “Let her kneel.”