SEATTLE -- Megan Rapinoe has been thrust into the middle of a national conversation. Yet, on Friday, she stayed quiet about her next move.
The US Womens' National Team member, and Seattle Reign FC star, made a very public statement this week, when she kneeled during the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" at a game in Chicago. She told reporters then, that it was a show of support to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has not been standing for the "National Anthem" to protest race and social issues across the country.
On Wednesday, the issue took on a life of it's own, when the owner of the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League played the national anthem while the teams were still in the locker room, admitting he did it to stop Rapinoe from "Hijacking our organization's event."
On Friday, the Spirit players released a joint statement which read, in part, "We respect our owner’s freedom to share his views and we understand his intentions. But as a team we don’t necessarily agree with those opinions or the actions taken on Wednesday evening. We believe in freedom of speech and expression as long as it’s respectfully demonstrated, even when we don’t agree on every issue. As a team, we were disappointed we were not informed of the plans for the national anthem or given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision."
In Seattle, where the Reign practiced for the first time since the issue flared up, Rapinoe was her normal gregarious self. However, team owner Bill Predmore was a visible presence, and could be seen, during practice talking with head coach Laura Harvey, and in the furthest corner of the field gesticulating to his star midfielder. Rapinoe stood, appearing to listen, and not say much. She then exited the field through a side door, away from her teammates, before quickly returning and declining further comment.
The team has a home game against the Spirit, this Sunday, September 11 at 7 p.m.. The franchise has already announced it will honor the armed forces in a pre-game ceremony.
Harvey was coy about what the team, or Rapinoe, had planned, but insisted the issue had not become a distraction.
"I'm just focused on the game. On Wednesday, I didn't know what happened with the anthem until after the game,
and again, my job is to get the team prepared on Sunday," she said.
Copyright 2016 KING