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U.S. Women's Soccer Co-Captain: ‘I’ll Probably Never Sing The National Anthem Again’

Says she is "a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration"

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
 

The co-captain of the United States Women’s national soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, told Yahoo Sports, "I'll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again,” boasting that she is "a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration,” because of "everything I stand for.” She added, “I feel like it's kind of defiance in and of itself to just be who I am and wear the jersey, and represent it. Because I'm as talented as I am, I get to be here, you don't get to tell me if I can be here or not. So 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. Which, God help us if we all looked like him. Scary. Really scary. Ahh, disturbing."

 

Things were different in 2011 when Rapinoe sang “Born in the USA” into a microphone during a FIFA World Cup qualifying match. But in 2016, after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem, Rapinoe imitated him, first before a Reign match and then before a game against Thailand. Rapinoe, who recently became the first openly-gay woman to pose for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, stated at the time she was kneeling, “I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.”

The United States Soccer Federation responded to Rapinoe by first releasing a statement that said, "Our national anthem is an opportunity … to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country. As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played." Later, in March 2017, the Federation instituted a policy requiring the national team to “stand respectfully” during national anthems, prompting Rapinoe to assert, “It is an honor to represent the USA and all that we stand for - to be able to pull on the red, white and blue to play a game that I love.” Rapinoe added she would "respect the new bylaw."

 

But in the interview with Yahoo, Rapinoe said, “Using this blanketed patriotism as a defense against what the protest actually is was pretty cowardly. I think the NFL does it. I felt like the statement from U.S. Soccer, and then the rule they made without ever talking to me, that was the same as what the NFL was doing – just to not have the conversation, to try to just stop me from doing what I'm doing instead of at least having a conversation, and trying to figure out a [solution] that makes sense for everyone."

According to Yahoo Sports, Rapinoe views President Trump as “sexist,” “misogynistic,” “small-minded,” “racist” and “not a good person.” Yahoo quotes Rapinoe saying the Trump administration doesn’t “value all Americans equally,” and the United States is troubled with “atrocities ... extreme poverty … homelessness ... mass incarceration ... discrimination against people of color, and police brutality.”

Yahoo asked Rapinoe what would cause her to stop protesting. She answered, "It would take a lot. It would take criminal justice reform. It would take the huge inequality gap that we have to be much better. It would take a lot of progress in LGBTQ rights. We just have such a disparity in this country in so many different ways, inequality in so many different ways."

 

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