JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — At an NWSL game on Sunday, Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe became the first white pro athlete to take a knee during the national anthem in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his message protesting police treatment of black Americans. Rapinoe said she plans to continue her protest, and she told SI.com that it does include the next U.S. national team game on September 15 if she’s selected.
U.S. Soccer did not have any comment when asked about Rapinoe’s plans, but I am told that U.S. Soccer has been in touch with her about it.
Soccer is different from the NFL because players also compete for national teams, not just professional clubs. Based on my research, Rapinoe’s protest in a U.S. uniform would be unprecedented. I couldn’t find a single example in the history of international soccer in which a player refused to stand for their national anthem out of protest.
Here are a couple of more insider notes from the U.S. soccer world:
If USA wins group, hex will open in Columbus
The contract isn’t expected to be signed until next week, but if the U.S. wins its group on Tuesday night—which will require a victory against Trinidad and Tobago—the Hexagonal opener against Mexico will take place in Columbus, Ohio, on November 11, multiple sources tell SI.com. The U.S. has a perfect record against Mexico in four World Cup qualifiers in Columbus, with all four having been decided by identical 2-0 scores.
Sporting KC turns down $500K for Feilhaber
As reported by Raphael Gellar for the BBC, Kansas City and MLS turned down an offer from Israeli club Hapoel Be'er Sheva for Benny Feilhaber at the end of the transfer window. A source with knowledge of the Be'er Sheva offer tells SI.com that the transfer offer was for around $500,000, considering Feilhaber’s current MLS contract has less than four months left on it, and that Feilhaber was interested in going to Israel.
The source adds that Feilhaber, who has yet to agree on a new deal with Kansas City, may now sign a pre-contract with a team outside MLS, as he’s allowed to do within six months of his current contract ending. Feilhaber, 31, was one of three finalists for the MLS MVP award in 2015.