Megan Rapinoe was denied the opportunity to perform a Colin Kaepernick-type protest of the national anthem as her NWSL team took on the Washington Spirit. According to ESPN, as Rapinoe’s team, the Seattle Reign, prepared to face off against Washington, the Spirit decided to change their pregame ritual by moving the national anthem to play before Megan and all other soccer players took the field.
The Spirit released a statement defending their decision to nip Rapinoe’s protest in the bud:
“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. 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.”
While the pre-emptive strike of the Spirit against Megan Rapinoe’s protest was a surprise, the NFL has continued business as usual in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s unwillingness to stand for the national anthem. Kaepernick has been joined by a handful of others in the league, but Rapinoe, for the moment, has continued to kneel alone in the NWSL.
When asked how she felt about the Spirit’s decision to move the national anthem, Megan Rapinoe had a few choice words for the organization according to the Washington Post. Apparently Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign coach told her the news just before they left the locker room. After Megan found out the reason for the bumped up national anthem, however, her response was one of anger and frustration.
“It’s f*****g unbelievable. Saddened by it. It’s pretty clear what the message is I am trying to bring to light in Chicago and what I continue to try to talk about the last few days,” Rapinoe said referring to Sunday’s game in which she said she was supporting Colin Kaepernick’s protest.
Rapinoe went on to say that she thought her teammates were going to support her “in some way” though she wasn’t sure if any of the other players had planned to kneel alongside her. Megan also stated she hasn’t been able to get in touch with Colin Kaepernick, but she has been chatting with other activists in the movement.
Reports note that Rapinoe was escorted by police officers at the game, causing concern that Megan had received threats. Rapinoe stated that no threats had been made to her personally but that the Seattle Reign had been subjected to backlash because of Megan’s protest and the police were there as a precaution.
While Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick state they will continue their protests with their professional teams, it will be interesting to see how Rapinoe’s protest affects her stint with the USWNT. Megan just returned to the USWNT for the Rio Olympics after recovering from an ACL tear. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign and USWNT teammate Hope Solo found herself suspended and had her contract terminated by the U.S. Soccer Federation following Solo’s disrespect of Sweden following a USWNT loss.
Megan has stated she will continue to kneel in protest but the USWNT might not be as forgiving as the NWSL. That combined with the fact that Rapinoe is part of a wage discrimination loss suit against the federation could spell a similar fate as Hope Solo for the soccer star.
Whether or not the push of the anthem affected Megan Rapinoe’s game remains to be seen. The Seattle Reign fell to the Washington Spirit 1-2. They will face off again on September 11, a game that Rapinoe says intends to honor veterans. Megan stated she will meet with the veterans prior to the match, but at this point, it is still her intention to kneel during the national anthem.[Image by Harry How/Getty Images.]