Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign midfielder and USWNT star, recently grabbed headlines for kneeling during the National Anthem at one of her games, and then issuing an eloquent explanation. "We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country," she said on Sunday night.
On Wednesday night, Rapinoe planned—just as on Sunday—to kneel before her National Women's Soccer League match against the Washington Spirit in DC. One issue: the Spirit plotted to play the anthem early so Rapinoe couldn't protest. While the song played, the Reign were in the locker room.
Erasing any doubt of the team's intention, Spirit owner Bill Lynch issued a statement after the game, arguing (in part) that they "disagree with her method of hijacking our organization's event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal—albeit worthy—cause."
Lynch's statement, unfortunately, didn't make any sense: How is asking for a "more thoughtful-two-sided conversation about racial issues" a "personal" cause? Rapinoe still dignified Lynch's words with a response:
Later, in an interview with the Washington Post, Rapinoe clarified what message she intends to communicate with her protests:
We’re talking about Americans that have to deal with oppression and racism and poverty — and the intersection of all of that. Being a woman, we talk about equal pay all the time. We’re not talking about if you’re black or if you are Latina. I would like to get back to that, and improving the relationship between the police community and the community of color. I don’t know exactly all the right things to say, but I want to engage in that conversation.
Meanwhile, the Reign stand behind Rapinoe, writing in a statement, "We will continue to allow players to participate in the pre-match ceremony in a manner consistent with their personal beliefs."
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.