Red Stars' Rachel Hill Explains Standing While Team Kneeled During Anthem

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJuly 1, 2020

Chicago Red Stars' Julie Ertz, second from left, holds Casey Short, center, while other players for the team kneel during the national anthem before an NWSL Challenge Cup soccer match against the Washington Spirit at Zions Bank Stadium, Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Herriman, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Chicago Red Stars players are continuing conversations on systemic racism and police brutality following a protest before last Saturday's game during the national anthem.

Rachel Hill explained in an Instagram post her reasoning for not kneeling during the anthem as her teammates did, noting she will continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement and commit to being "diligently anti-racist."

Hill was seen in a now-iconic photo of the Red Stars wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts while Casey Short and Julie Ertz embrace on one knee. To the right of Short is Hill, standing up with a hand on Short's shoulder.

Short referenced conversations she's had with Hill in her own post about the moment:

"I, Casey, can only speak for myself but the conversations I have had with players, specifically Rachel, have been unapologetically authentic. I have to ask where my hope lies. It lies in my faith and those types of conversations that have been long overdue. The types of conversations that are raw and uncomfortable, that can lead to real impactful change.

"... Our thought process is evolving daily. Where the pain is, our empathy goes. The emotion we feel is responsibility and we want to find our place in the cure together."

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Since the beginning, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem in 2016, the message has been clear that the action is not one taken to disrespect the military or those who have lost their lives defending America. Rather the protest shines a light on the fact that not all receive the same treatment in this country—specifically those in the Black community. Systemic racism and police brutality exist across the nation.

In deciding to stand for the anthem, Hill said she was trying to balance her own feelings on the matter.

"I chose to stand because of what the flag inherently means to my military family members and me," Hill wrote. "But I 100 percent support my peers. I tried to show this with the placement of my hand on Casey's shoulder and bowing my head."

Hill admitted she struggled with the decision but in the end felt she had to be true to herself.

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