"I am kneeling because I have to do something," Rapinoe wrote. "Anything. We all do."
Seattle Reign and U.S. women’s national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe took to the Players’ Tribune on Thursday morning to explain her decision to kneel during the anthem before games played both for club and country.
“I am kneeling because I have to do something,” Rapinoe wrote. “Anything. We all do.”
“I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way. When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of freedom — because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.”
Rapinoe first knelt prior to Seattle’s match at Chicago in early September, describing it as a deliberate show of support for San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick. A few days later in Washington, D.C., Spirit owner Bill Lynch had the song played with both teams still in the locker room to prevent Rapinoe from engaging in her protest. And despite push back from some within U.S. Soccer, the 31-year-old California native also knelt prior to an international friendly against Thailand in Columbus.
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“I have chosen to kneel because in the time it has taken me to write this article, many more Americans have been lost to senseless violence,” Rapinoe wrote. “I have chosen to kneel because not two miles from my hotel in Columbus, Ohio, on the night before our USWNT match against Thailand, a 13-year-old boy named Tyre King was fatally shot by a police officer. I have chosen to kneel because I simply cannot stand for the kind of oppression this country is allowing against its own people. I have chosen to kneel because, in the words of Emma Lazarus, ‘Until we are all free, we are none of us free.'”
You can read Rapinoe’s post in its entirety here.