Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest continues to stir debate, exactly as he had hoped.
It all began when he sat on the bench during the national anthem prior to the Aug. 26 game with the Green Bay Packers. “This is because I'm seeing things happen to people that don't have a voice, people that don't have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and effect change,” Kaepernick said of his motives.
Then, prior to the Sept. 1 game against the San Diego Chargers, he kneeled on the sideline during the anthem, along with fellow teammate Eric Reid; The Seattle Seahawks’ Jeremy Lane followed suit.
Now, the issue has spread to the National Women’s Soccer League. Megan Rapinoe, a star player for the Seattle Reign franchise, kneeled during the national anthem prior to the Sept. 4 game against Chicago, in solidarity with Kaepernick, reports ESPN.
However, she did not get the opportunity to repeat the gesture at the Sept. 7 game against the Washington Spirit, because the latter team’s management decided to play the anthem before either team took the field.
In a statement, the Spirit said: "We decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent. We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise."
The decision was also justified on the grounds that team owner Bill Lynch is a veteran, ESPN notes.
"The tradition of honoring our military and our patriotism before our games is very important to us," the statement added.