Washington Spirit owner plays anthem without players on field to prevent Rapinoe's protest
U.S. women's national team and Seattle Reign player Megan Rapinoe planned on kneeing during the playing of the national anthem for a second straight game on Wednesday in Washington D.C., but was prevented from doing so by Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch.
Lynch, a veteran, decided to have the anthem played while players were still in the locker room, so Rapinoe would be unable to publicly protest. In a statement, he called the act one of "disrespect."
"While we respect every individual’s right to express themselves, and believe Ms. Rapinoe to be an amazing individual with a huge heart; we respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal - albeit worthy - cause," the statement read.
Rapinoe made waves for her decision not to stand last week, in what she called “a nod to [Colin] Kaepernick.” The Reign came out in support of Rapinoe's decision, and the midfielder said she'd continue the protest during future USWNT matches.
"It’s f---ing unbelievable. Saddened by it," Rapinoe said of Lynch's decision, according to the Washington Post. "It was incredibly distasteful, four days before one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say I tried to hijack this event."
Kaepernick, the 49ers' backup quarterback, has been in the news lately for choosing not to stand for the national anthem before preseason games, protesting what he believes is racial equality in America and police violence.
It's been a point of great contention, with several notable athletes and even commissioner Roger Goodell voicing their disagreement. Many have come out in support of Kaepernick as well, the most recent being Stephen Curry.
The 28-year-old now has the top selling jersey in the league, and will donate $1 million of the proceeds to the community.