Megan Rapinoe has been kneeling during the national anthem during NWSL games in support of NFL player Colin Kaepernick's protest against racial inequality in the USA, and there was some speculation ast to whether she would do it for USWNT matches.
We got our answer Thursday when the USWNT took on Thailand in Heather O'Reilly's last game. Rapinoe knelt, and in hindsight she was never not going to, and US Soccer released a statement sort of chastising Rapinoe but not really condemning the action or vowing to do anything about it.
US Soccer's statement, in full:
"Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer's National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer. In front of national and often global audiences, the playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men's and Women's National Team players and coaches to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country. As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played."
Translation: "we love America and we really wish this controversy wasn't happening but it is and now we're scared to put ourselves on the wrong side of it and we don't know what to do so here's some gibberish about expectations that we may or may nor enforce and have we mentioned we love America?"
Pick a side, y'all. Basically, this statement is a punt. They're leaving themselves enough room to see where public opinion goes on this thing then they'll decide whether they support or condemn Rapinoe's protest.
It makes a lot of sense that US Soccer would want to stop Rapinoe from kneeling during the anthem. The team is, after all, representing the USA. But it also makes sense for them to support Rapinoe, as it seems most women's soccer fans are supportive of her efforts. What they've decided to do, though, is neither, and that's not helpful for anybody.