Megan Rapinoe: professional soccer player, Olympic athlete, political activist?
Rapinoe was spotted kneeling during the national anthem before the Seattle Reign- Chicago Red Stars game last Sunday. When she tried to pull the same stunt before an away game against the Washington Spirit, the home team was already one step ahead of her.
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.”
The owner of the Washington Spirit, Bill Lynch, is a veteran who knows many individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.
Meanwhile, the Team USA hockey coach plans to bench any player who boycotts the national anthem:
“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” [John] Tortorella told ESPN’s Linda Cohn on Tuesday.
There are countless ways to voice dissent in the United States. Refusing to acknowledge the sacrifices made for our freedom doesn’t have to be one of them.