San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s protests against police violence inspired a White soccer player to take a stand—rather, a knee—in solidarity.
Per espnW, Seattle Reign’s Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the national anthem before a game Sunday (September 4) against the Chicago Red Stars. Both teams play in the National Women’s Soccer League.
— NWSL (@gbpackfan32) September 5, 2016
Rapinoe, who helped the U.S. women’s team win two FIFA Women’s World Cups and a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, said that her knee was "a nod to Kaepernick."
"I am disgusted with the way [Kaepernick] has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this," Rapinoe told espnW. "It is overtly racist. ‘Stay in your place, Black man.’ Just didn’t feel right to me. We need a more substantive conversation around race relations and the way people of color are treated."
Rapinoe, who identifies as gay and advocates against homophobia and transphobia in sports, added that the protest felt personal to her. "And quite honestly, being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling," she said.
Rapinoe is the first major non-Black and female athlete to emulate Kaepernick’s protest. She said that she will continue to kneel before each game. "The very least that I can do is continue the conversation with him by kneeling for the anthem," she said.