U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe could face disciplinary action if she continues to kneel during the national anthem before games.
Despite an official statement from U.S. Soccer stating that both coaches and players are expected to stand at attention during the national anthem, Rapinoe continued to kneel at the Sept. 18 game against the Netherlands, protesting what she believes to be injustice and oppression in the United States.
Rapinoe first began her protest in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who announced that he will not stand for the anthem as long as there is continued police brutality and racial prejudice in this country. His statements and actions have created a national movement, with athletes like Rapinoe following in his footsteps.
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Her actions in particular have angered U.S. Soccer, which released a statement saying that her protest goes against everything the organization stands for.
"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," the statement reads in part, according to ESPN.
While she wasn't immediately punished for her protest, ESPN reports that the situation will be re-evaluated if Rapinoe continues to kneel throughout the rest of the season.
During a home game against the Netherlands, Rapinoe was met with some backlash when she refused to stand for the anthem, with one fan yelling, "Stand up!"
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Nonetheless, Rapinoe has no plans of quitting her protest and is willing to risk suspension in order to make a statement.
"As of now I plan to keep kneeling," she told ESPN. "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."