Michelle Akers: Should Rapinoe protest by leaving USWNT?

Megan Rapinoe again kneels during the national anthem before the United States' match against the Netherlands on Sept. 18, 2016. Next to her are Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger. (John Bazemore/AP)

Megan Rapinoe during the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Netherlands. Saluting next to her are Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger. (John Bazemore/AP)

One of the lions of women’s soccer has publicly admonished Megan Rapinoe for kneeling during the national anthem while playing for the U.S. national team.

In a Facebook post published Monday (Sept. 19), Michelle Akers suggests that a more meaningful way to protest against injustice in the United States would be for Rapinoe to refuse to play for her country.

“Why represent the U.S. and wear the U.S. flag on your chest if you are unhappy or protesting how you’re being treated by the U.S.?” Akers writes.

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Michelle Akers. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

If Rapinoe gave up her spot on the team — and her paycheck from U.S. Soccer — she “would bring MORE attention to the issue she’s wanting to discuss,” the two-time World Cup champion says.

She adds that Rapinoe’s protest is “distracting to her teammates” and to “their mission to be the greatest team ever.”

Before Team USA’s games against Thailand and the Netherlands, the broadcast crews from ESPN and Fox Sports devoted ample airtime to wondering whether Rapinoe would stand or kneel for the anthem.

Fox even brought in Grant Wahl, the respected soccer writer from Sports Illustrated, to say he didn’t know what Rapinoe would do.

Then, after she knelt, the announcers talked about it throughout the game.

Coach Jill Ellis was interviewed about Rapinoe’s action, as was Carli Lloyd, the team captain. (Both disapproved.)

Akers couches her criticisms by saying the suggestion that Rapinoe quit the team comes from some unidentified guy. She says she’s merely repeating the “great point and question” raised by this guy, and adds, “I’d love to hear Rapinoe’s reasons or thought process on his question.”

But it’s clear where Akers’ sympathies lie, and they’re not with Megan Rapinoe.

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Megan Rapinoe during the national anthem before the game against Thailand, Sept. 15, 2016. (Kyle Robertson/AP)

 

 

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