Ever since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem to bring awareness to racial inequalities, other athletes have joined his protest. US soccer star Megan Rapinoe is one of them. Rapinoe is an advocate for the LGBTQ community, and her protest was on full display before the start of Tuesday’s World Cup game.
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In May, the 33-year-old midfielder announced she would not sing the National Anthem. “I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again,” she said in a May 13 interview.
She added her reasoning. “It’s kind of a good ‘F you’ to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don’t look exactly like him.”
In addition to her refusal to sing the National Anthem, she proclaimed if the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team wins the World Cup, she will refuse to go to White House to receive congratulations from the president, the Daily Mail reported.
“I am not going to fake it, hobnob with the president, who is clearly against so many of the things that I am [for] and so many of the things that I actually am,” Rapinoe told Sports Illustrated. “I have no interest in extending our platform to him.”
On Tuesday, before the United States dismantled Thailand 13-0, Rapinoe stood by her word and stood stoically while her teammates sang the anthem. It should come as little surprise that this divided many Americans as it did when Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem in 2016.
Twitter was rife with arguments on the matter. One person wrote: “Megan Rapinoe needs to be booted for her lack of patriotism. Why play for a country you hate.”
Another person who sided with Rapinoe’s stance wrote, “Megan Rapinoe is not singing the anthem (because she’s not allowed to kneel) and I love her so much it hurts.”
One man was especially angered by her lack of patriotism. “Megan Rapinoe doesn’t belong wearing red, white, and blue. Don’t play for the USA if you can’t respect it, don’t represent the USA if you hate it.”
When asked if she would ever change her views or how she went about bringing light to these issues, Rapinoe replied: “It would take a lot.”