WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The NWSL Washington Spirit women’s soccer team is coming under fire after the owner staged his own “protest” Wednesday night. The National Anthem played earlier than scheduled before the Spirit’s game against the Seattle Reign.
All this to prevent USWNT star Megan Rapinoe from kneeling during the anthem. Rapinoe initially kneeled before the Reign’s game against Chicago Sunday, in support of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. However, she was denied the opportunity before their game against Washington.
After a short rain delay, the “Star Spangled Banner” played, while the players still in the locker room. A decision reportedly made by the owner of the Spirit, Bill Lynch, and Air Force Veteran.
In a statement released by the team,
“We decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent…
“While we respect every individual’s right to express themselves, and believe Ms. Rapinoe to be an amazing individual with a huge heart; we respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal - albeit worthy - cause…
“To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to millions of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves.”
Rapinoe: "It was incredibly distasteful, 4 days before 1 of the worst tragedies in our country, to say I tried to hijack this event."— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) September 8, 2016
Hey @WashSpirit - the national anthem doesn't represent the troops. The troops defend US so those like Rapinoe can freely demonstrate.— Guy Tweet Haver (@thetweethaver) September 8, 2016
@WashSpirit why is your veteran owner more important than this veteran fan?— Dave Clark (@bedirthan) September 8, 2016
Really, really disappointed with the Washington Spirit. https://t.co/c8rU3SE00Y— Brian (@LaneWinree) September 8, 2016