Four days after causing a stir by taking a knee during the national anthem, USWNT star and Seattle Reign midfielder Megan Rapinoe was in Maryland on Wednesday to take on the Washington Spirit.
It was expected that Rapinoe would once again show solidarity toward 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his silent protest.
But instead of playing the anthem with all the players on the field, as is typically the case, the Washington Spirit did not wait for Rapinoe to make her protest. The organization played the anthem as the teams were in the locker room getting ready.
The organization then released a statement defend its actions.
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"We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise," the team said in an official statement.
"To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to million of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves."
The Spirit, owned by Bill Lynch — a veteran — expressed concern over disrespecting those who also served. "Professional athletes have incredible numbers of followers, to which we believe they have the abillity to articulate a conversation with objectives and plans and begimn a serious conversation directly, or through traditional media appearances, without insulting our military and our fans."
At the core of Kaepernick and Rapinoe's protest was oppression, not being pro or anti-millitary.
Rapinoe wanted her protest to spark a conversation. One about change.
It does not appear the Spirit want to engage in that same discussion.