U.S. women's national team star Carli Lloyd says she's had a lot of conversations with Megan Rapinoe about her decision to protest to raise awareness about social injustice in America.
Rapinoe first took a knee during the national anthem of a NWSL game on Sept. 4 before repeating her demonstration in a USWNT just a few days later. She said that her decision to kneel stemmed from Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police treatment of black Americans.
Lloyd supports her teammate but has called the protest a distraction as teammates are being asked more questions about Rapinoe's stance than their practices or play.
“I've had a lot of conversations with Megan,” Lloyd says. “We're both on the same page. We both respect one another. I'm not trying to diss her cause in any fashion. I think it's great. I think she's bringing conversation to the table about some tough situations that are going on in the world. What is a distraction is the actual action of it. People are only talking about the kneeling aspect of it. I think it becomes more of a distraction because it gets our coach involved, our support staff involved and we as a team. We as a team have dealt so many things along the way whether it's off the pitch or on the field. We can handle it. At the end of the day, we're pros. Whatever is going on, we need to forget about it and just play soccer. But we do want to get back to playing soccer but that's not to say Megan can't continue to pursue what she's pursuing. I love Megan. We're good friends. I've got her support and her back all the way.”
The USWNT will play against Switzerland on Oct. 19. Rapinoe plans to continue her protest in that game.