As the U.S. Women's National Team celebrated their World Cup victory on Wednesday, co-captain Megan Rapinoe continues her protest during the National Anthem. Rapinoe was the first white professional athlete to kneel during the Star Spangled Banner in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, which she first did back in 2016. During the team's victory parade on Wednesday, she abstained in a different way.
As the ticker tape parade came to a close in New York City, New York Police Department officer Lauren Leggio sang the national anthem. The team stood on the steps of City Hall, but while most athletes placed their hands over their hearts, Rapinoe did not. She remained standing, but the 34-year-old held her hands linked behind her back instead.
It was a little difficult to catch Rapinoe's subtle protest in the sweeping shots of the news coverage. She was seated at the front of a small group on the steps, and when the anthem played she rose with the rest of the men and women there. She remained respectfully silent during the song, and she was not even the only one with her hands behind her back.
Still, for many pundits — particularly those who were already opposed to Kaepernick's protest — this was just another outrage from Rapinoe. Fox News' Rick Leventhall posted a screenshot of Rapinoe's posture, and Sean Hannity published a report on his own website.
"Disgusting and disgraceful," one person responded. "She and one of her I assume coach's [sic] stood there with their hands behind their backs as she smiled. They are an embarrassment to themselves their team and this country. She should never again be allowed to put on a USA uniform and represent his country."
Elsewhere, however, Rapinoe's subtle stance did not get much coverage. The soccer star first knelt during the National Anthem during a match between the Chicago Red Stars and Rapinoe's Seattle Reign back in September of 2016. She later said that she was acting in solidarity with Kaepernick.
Anderson: "There's a good chance the president is watching this interview or will watch this interview. What is your message to the president?"@mPinoe paused, thought about it, then looked straight into the camera and said this.pic.twitter.com/og4vHQqBP6— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 10, 2019
Rapinoe intended to continue her peaceful protest, but she was not able to. During her next match, the Washing Spirit played the anthem before the players took the field. She knelt the following week during an international game against Thailand, but after that U.S. Soccer created a rule forbidding the protest.
Rapinoe has continued to play for the U.S. Women's National Team, but she has been outspoken about political issues ever since. On Tuesday, she gave an interview on CNN where she said that she knew her protests were working because they were not easy for her.
"I think that protest is not comfortable ever," Rapinoe told Anderson Cooper. "It's going to force people to look inward and question everything they thought that they knew."