After leaving open the possibility, U.S. Soccer has decided not to punish Megan Rapinoe in Sunday night’s game against the Netherlands (7 p.m. ET, FS1) for taking a knee during the national anthem before Thursday’s 9-0 win against Thailand in Columbus, SI.com has learned. Rapinoe will be in uniform and available for selection to play.
Rapinoe first took a knee during the anthem in an NWSL game on September 4 in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police treatment of black Americans. When she kneeled on Thursday in a U.S. uniform, it was unprecedented based on SI.com’s research, which couldn’t find any examples in the history of international soccer of players refusing to stand for their own anthem.
After Rapinoe took a knee on Thursday, U.S. Soccer released a statement that read, in part: “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.” U.S. coach Jill Ellis had said she would deliberate on whether to punish Rapinoe for Sunday’s game, but SI.com has learned that no punishment is forthcoming tonight in Atlanta.
Rapinoe has not said whether she will take a knee on Sunday night. She had told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap this week that she thinks her message is even more important to convey in a U.S. uniform.