United States Women’s National team star Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the national anthem in solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
Rapinoe called it a deliberate move to support the NFL quarterback, who stoked controversy by flouting the tradition of standing during the song.
“It was very intentional,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now, following a match in Illinois between the Chicago Red Stars and her own team, the Seattle Reign.
“It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now.”
On Thursday, Kaepernick carried on with his protest against racial injustice and police brutality before his team’s game against the San Diego Chargers by refusing to stand during The Star Spangled Banner.
A week earlier the athlete raised the ire of many fans when he remained seated through the anthem before his team’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
Many Americans saw his gesture as a sign of disrespect to the flag and criticism was widespread, but Kaepernick has also been supported by some fellow players – and now by Rapinoe.
“I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t,” Rapinoe said.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.
“It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”
Rapinoe said that while her gesture was “something small,” she planned to continue doing it to “spark some meaningful conversation.”