U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe has knelt during the national anthem Sunday night before the Seattle Reign’s 2-2 tie with the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Rapinoe, 31, said it was an intentional move designed to show her support for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing protest against racial injustice in the U.S. ‘It’s the least I can do. Keep the conversation going,’ Rapinoe tweeted, after earlier telling American Soccer Now it was ‘a nod to Kaepernick’.
Rapinoe is a midfielder for Seattle Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League – the highest women’s club competition in the U.S. She has played 115 games for the U.S. Women’s National Team, and was a crucial part of the side’s gold medal win at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Just two weeks before the Games, Rapinoe came out publicly and used the moment as a chance to make a stand for LGBTI equality. ‘I feel like sports in general are still homophobic in the sense that not a lot of people are out,’ she said at the time.
‘I feel everyone is really craving [for] people to come out. People want—they need—to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol’ U.S. of A.’ She was also a member of the 2016 Rio Olympics team, and the 2015 World Cup winning squad.
The 31-year-old’s protest comes after Kaepernick sparked a national discussion by refusing to stand during San Francisco’s preseason games. Kaepernick explained his decision not to stand for the anthem after the 49ers final preseason game last week.