The Seattle Reign support Megan Rapinoe's decision to protest during the national anthem, the team announced in a statement.
Rapinoe took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before the Reign played the Chicago Red Stars on Friday. After the game, she acknowledged that the move was a nod to quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to protest during the national anthem at NFL games. Kaepernick has decided not to stand for the national anthem before games in protest of racial inequalities and injustices in America, including police-related violence.
“We recognize Megan’s decision was offensive to some and a source of inspiration to others,” the Reign statement read. “We empathize with those offended, as we understand that the playing of the national anthem is one of our nation’s most revered public celebrations, honoring the sacrifices that have been made — and continue to be made — by those serving in our armed forces.
"At the same time, we see many inspired by Megan’s decision, as the courage she exhibited by acting on her beliefs empowers others to take action as well. We will continue to encourage all Reign FC players to participate in the pre-match ceremony, which honors those who have served and made sacrifices on our behalf. We will also continue to allow players to participate in the pre-match ceremony in a manner consistent with their personal beliefs, reflecting our respect for the rights earned and defended by those fighting for our nation. And we will continue to support Megan in her efforts to make a positive impact on our country, encouraging her to do so in a way that provokes needed conversation about serious issues, in a manner consistent with the values of our organization.”
Rapinoe told SI's Grant Wahl that she plans to continue protesting at future games, even in a U.S. national team uniform.