Megan Rapinoe explains her national anthem protest

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 kneels during the national anthem before the United States’ match against the Netherlands, Sept. 18, 2016. (John Bazemore/AP)

In Why I Am Kneeling, an essay written for The Players’ Tribune, Megan Rapinoe says she felt that she had to do something to express her dismay over police violence directed at black Americans.

And she says she’ll continue to kneel during the national anthem.

“I haven’t experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member’s body lying dead in the street,” Rapinoe writes. “But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache.”

Rapinoe, widely vilified for her protest, calls it a sign of deep respect for what the American flag stands for:

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. When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of freedom — because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.

Read what she has to say before judging her.


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