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Last month, United States women’s national soccer team captain Megan Rapinoe told Yahoo Sports, “I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart” for the national anthem ever again.
At Tuesday’s World Cup match against Thailand, Rapinoe kept her word. The openly gay forward refused to put her hand over her heart and sing along to the national anthem, which was apparently a “F you” to “sexist,” “racist,” and “small-minded” President Donald Trump.
— XpressNews (@xpressnewsasia) June 12, 2019
During the Yahoo! Sports interview, Rapinoe proudly dubbed herself “a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration” because of “everything” she “stands for,” hinting at her sexuality.
“I feel like it’s kind of defiance in and of itself to just be who I am and wear the jersey, and represent it. Because I’m as talented as I am, I get to be here, you don’t get to tell me if I can be here or not,” she said.
“So it’s kind of a good ‘F you’ to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don’t look exactly like him. Which, God help us if we all looked like him. Scary. Really scary. Ahh, disturbing,” added the soccer star.
The Internet was not pleased with Rapinoe’s move — viewing the protest as not a knock against Trump, but a hit against those who’ve selflessly sacrificed for her freedoms to, for example, protest the national anthem. In other words, Rapinoe’s American privilege was lost on her due to her blind hatred for Trump.
Here are some of the reactions following Rapinoe’s protest:
Spineless act for publicity. Didn’t feel strongly enough to quit the team ¬ represent the US. #snoozefest
US soccer star Megan Rapinoe stays true to her word: Doesn't sing national anthem before Thailand match | Fox News https://t.co/WokjAlULgz
— Amber Smith (@AmberSmithUSA) June 12, 2019
Nice win ladies. Don’t tell me how this ends up. I don’t care. Not watching. https://t.co/ofJ8DJAgp8
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) June 11, 2019
Someone should tell @mPinoe that people actually give a shit about the NFL. And they got crushed.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) June 11, 2019
After we all looked back last week on the incredible sacrifices and loss of life suffered on D-Day and remembered the American heroes who made victory possible while marking the 75th Anniversary— the timing of this move seems incredibly callous.
— Kari Lake Fox 10 (@KariLakeFox10) June 12, 2019
So you protest a president by dishonoring yourself and the entire nation? Statists hate America: Megan Rapinoe: My national anthem protests are an 'F you' to Trump administration https://t.co/RB6rIDOulR
— Chris Loesch (@ChrisLoesch) June 12, 2019
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) June 11, 2019
Megan Rapinoe needs to be booted for her lack of patriotism. Why play for a country you hate, smh. #USWNT
— Big Dawg🇺🇸 (@Moutdaman1) June 11, 2019
— Swami (@SwamiG8R) June 11, 2019
The only obnoxious moment the #USWNT has is each game when Rapinoe looks like she hates the country that made her a star during the national anthem. She disrespects a nation and her team to stick it to one guy who temporarily holds an office. Crazy.
— Eric Goranson (@EricAlan) June 12, 2019
I love that people are so outraged at the #USWNT for scoring too many goals and/or excessively celebrating. The real travesty is the mockery made of our country, its national anthem, and those that defend it. Hands over hearts; basic respect for the flag and our country.
— Mike MacGregor (@mikeymac0908) June 12, 2019
Megan Rapinoe said that she would probably never sing the national anthem again before a game as a sort of protest against the president.
Your disrespectful to those who gave all to keep our freedom & America safe.
Disrespectful liberal!! 🤷♂https://t.co/Cyecjf7WOk
— 🇺🇸 ✝ RICK MAGA ✝ 🇺🇸 (@barmore27) June 12, 2019
Another spoiled one that has no actual understanding or appreciation of what they have here, or what is takes to keep it. They can always go live in that perfect other country. Oh, that’s right, there is no such a thing as a perfect other country. https://t.co/JsEol8yMhD
— Lee Culhane (@CulhaneLee) June 11, 2019
Rapinoe began kneeling during the anthem in 2016. “I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” the athlete claimed at the time.
Rapinoe was forced to drop the kneeling act after the United States Soccer Federation responded with a policy requiring the national team to “stand respectfully.”
“Our national anthem is an opportunity … 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,” a statement from the organization said.
Despite publicly praising the United States and acknowledging that she will “respect” the standing policy, Rapinoe bashed the bylaw in May, telling Yahoo! Sports:
“Using this blanketed patriotism as a defense against what the protest actually is was pretty cowardly. I think the NFL does it. I felt like the statement from U.S. Soccer, and then the rule they made without ever talking to me, that was the same as what the NFL was doing — just to not have the conversation, to try to just stop me from doing what I’m doing instead of at least having a conversation, and trying to figure out a [solution] that makes sense for everyone.”