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Lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe explains national anthem protest

Lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe explains national anthem protest

Megan Rapinoe came out publicly in 2012

Last month, out soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner (the USA’s national anthem). At the time, she said it was ‘a nod to Colin Kaepernick.’

Kaepernick is the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who does not stand for the anthem because he cannot ‘stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.’

This past week, Rapinoe wrote an editorial for The Players’ Tribune explaining her decision. She insists she has not changed.

‘I am the same woman who has worn the Stars and Stripes across her chest, proud and beaming,’ Rapinoe writes. ‘I am one of the women you have called an American hero, and not just once. I look like your sister, your friend, your neighbor or the girl your kids go to school with. I am the person sitting at your dinner table and coming to your holiday party.’

She’s not been racially profiled, but fellow citizens have. This is why she takes a knee. The soccer star knows the protest is not a solution and can be seen as disrespectful.

‘I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way.’

Outside of the public, quiet, protest Rapinoe is ‘reaching out to community leaders, corporate partners and leaders within the Black Lives Matter movement’ to discover what else she can do.

While acknowledging the difficulties surrounding conversations of policing and race, Rapinoe is certain of the good work they inspire.

‘Having these kinds of conversations can be difficult and complex, but so what? We should talk to our family members and challenge them, bringing these hard problems to the dinner table and persevering through uncomfortable conversations. This is not a “them” problem — this is an “us” problem.’

The Players’ Tribune, founded by former Major League Baseball player Derek Jeter, publishes first-person stories from athletes.