Ever since Colin Kaepernick set off a media firestorm by refusing to stand during the national anthem prior to an NFL preseason game, reactions have been mixed, to say the least. But several other professional athletes and teammates have come out in support of his decision. One athlete to show support is Team USA and Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe. In a show of solidarity on Sunday, Rapinoe — who is openly gay — also took a knee during the national anthem prior to the team’s match against the Red Stars in Chicago.
Rapinoe apparently intended to do the same prior to their match against the Washington Spirit on Wednesday. But the Spirit organization had other plans to avoid the protest. In an attempt to undercut any disruption of their event and their fans, the team instead decided to move up the playing of the anthem ahead of schedule and before Rapinoe could take the field. Here is part of their rationale for the decision from the team’s official statement:
“While we respect every individual’s right to express themselves, and believe Rapinoe to be an amazing individual with a huge heart, we respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal – albeit worthy – cause.”
A franchise is certainly well within its right to schedule its events the way it sees fit, but a blatant attempt like this to undercut an individual’s right to free speech probably won’t sit well with a lot of people. You can read the statement below in its entirety: