X

Megan Rapinoe Says She Will Honor US Soccer Policy and Stand for National Anthem

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2017

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Megan Rapinoe #15 kneels during the National Anthem prior to the match between the United States and the Netherlands at Georgia Dome on September 18, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

United States women's national team star Megan Rapinoe said she will abide by a new U.S. Soccer guideline requiring all players to stand during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before national team matches.

Rapinoe released a statement about the policy, per espnW: "It is an honor to represent the USA and all that we stand for—to be able to pull on the red, white and blue to play a game that I love. I will respect the new bylaw the leadership at USSF has put forward. That said, I believe we should always value the use of our voice and platform to fight for equality of every kind."

On Saturday, Fox Sports' Stuart Holden brought attention to the new rule outlined by U.S. Soccer:

Stuart Holden @stuholden

New Policy added to @ussoccer bylaws: Players "shall stand respectfully during playing of national anthem @ which federation is represented" https://t.co/fkVtCI1iHC

The policy came after Rapinoe's peaceful protests last fall.

Emulating San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the 31-year-old first knelt during the national anthem before a National Women's Soccer League match Sept. 4, 2016. A few days later, she did the same ahead of the USWNT's friendly against Thailand in Columbus, Ohio.

She explained her reasoning in an interview with American Soccer Now's John D. Halloran:

It was very intentional. It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.

Fox Sports' Alexi Lalas, who starred for the men's national team in the 1990s, is among those behind U.S. Soccer's new policy (h/t Fox Soccer):

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

.@AlexiLalas backs U.S. Soccer's new policy requiring players to stand during national anthems. #USMNT #USWNT https://t.co/zTHvd1o7QZ

Matthew Doyle of MLSSoccer.com offered a counterpoint:

Matthew Doyle @MattDoyle76

Love & respect @AlexiLalas but he's dead wrong. Dissent – during the anthem or otherwise – is patriotic.

The women's national team returns to the pitch Tuesday night for its final match of the SheBelieves Cup, where it will face off against France.

Rapinoe was one of the more notable absences for Jill Ellis' side in the event. She has struggled since tearing her ACL in December 2015, and Ellis told ESPN's Julie Foudy Rapinoe needs to get back to full match fitness before warranting a call-up to the national team again.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.