USWNT star Megan Rapinoe will not face punishment from U.S. Soccer for her decision to kneel during the national anthem before the team’s friendly against Thailand on Thursday.
SI: U.S. Soccer has decided not to punish Megan Rapinoe in tonight’s game for kneeling during anthem on Thursday. https://t.co/XweDYeFw8B
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 18, 2016
The federation expressed its displeasure with Rapinoe’s actions following Thursday’s 9-0 drubbing in Columbus, Ohio. A statement released by U.S. Soccer opened up the possibility Rapinoe could face a consequences for her actions.
“Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer’s National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer,” the statement read. “In front of national and often global audiences, the playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men’s and Women’s National Team players and coaches 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.”
She first knelt during an anthem on Sept. 4 to express solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his similar protest against police brutality. However, the Sept. 4 protest was before a NWSL match, not a match where she was representing the USWNT.
Rapinoe and the USWNT will take the field again Sunday night against the Netherlands at 7 p.m. EST. The midfielder has not said definitively whether she will take a knee again before this game, but when she spoke with ESPN following the Thailand match, she did not offer any indication that she planned to stop her protest moving forward.
“As of now I plan to keep kneeling,” she said. “I’m trying to kind of formulate a better plan and an action step moving forward. But until then, this is how I can help, this is how I can use my voice going forward, and this is how I can be an ally in this space.”
Rapinoe’s actions are somewhat unprecedented, according to Sports Illustrated. She is apparently the first player in the history of international soccer to not stand for her country’s anthem.