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U.S. Soccer Criticizes Megan Rapinoe For Kneeling During National Anthem

Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem Thursday night.

Megan Rapinoe, a 31-year-old gay woman, took a knee before the United States' national team's friendly. It was the first time she had knelt while representing the U.S. Rapinoe first knelt earlier this month, supporting San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

U.S. Soccer does not support what Rapinoe is doing. They released this statement shortly after she took a knee.

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.

Rapinoe has told ESPNW that she kneels, in part, because - as a gay woman - she doesn't feel like all of her liberties are protected.

"Quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling."