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Hmm, why would anyone assume that the players were showing disrespect during the playing of our national anthem? Maybe it’s because, long before U.S. track and field athlete Gwen Berry turned her back on the flag while the national anthem played, it was the U.S. national women’s soccer team that was demanding the right to protest the anthem.
Maybe it’s because in 2016, U.S. co-captain Megan Rapinoe refused to stand during a national team game against Thailand. Maybe it’s because in 2019 Rapinoe refused to place her hand over her heart during the anthem, declaring“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”
Maybe it’s because in 2020 the national team players issued a joint statement demanding that U.S. Soccer repeal its policy requiring them to “stand respectfully” during the anthem — and U.S. Soccer capitulated to the players’ demands. Maybe it’s because last November, nine of the team’s 11 starting players kneeled during the playing of national anthem before their game against the Netherlands, and then seven of the starting 11 players took a knee during the anthem before a game against Columbia in January.