Megan Rapinoe has praised some of her fellow soccer players after they kneeled before the opening game of the National Women’s Soccer League’s summer tournament.
The NWSL’s Challenge Cup is the first major team sports competition to take place in the US since the Covid-19 shutdown. Every member of the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns knelt during the national anthem, while players and coaches wore Black Lives Matter shirts before kickoff.
“You love to see it,” wrote Rapinoe on Twitter. “You love to see these women using their voice, demanding better for America, and for black people and people of color.”
Rapinoe, who plays for OL Reign but opted out of the Challenge Cup, was criticized when she knelt at a NWSL game and a pair of national team games in 2016. She said she wanted to express solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the anthem to bring attention to racial inequality.
In response, US Soccer adopted a rule that required players to stand. But that rule was repealed earlier this month amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and racial inequity.
In a joint statement before the match, which was shown on network television, the Thorns and Courage said they “took a knee today to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism against black people and people of color in the United States”.
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