COLUMBUS, Ohio — U.S. Women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe pushed her national anthem protest to a new level Thursday when she took a knee for the Stars and Stripes before the U.S. Women's National Team's exhibition game against Thailand.
Rapinoe previously took a knee before her Seattle Reign took on the Chicago Red Stars earlier this month, but doing it while wearing the red, white, and blue made a bold statement.
While not everyone agrees with her actions, Rapinoe said she feels like she's doing the right thing.
"I truly feel like I am representing my country in doing this and representing everybody that lives in this country, not just the the people who look like me or I know, the people that I have experiences with," said Rapinoe during a post-game interview with ESPN.
U.S. Soccer National Teams was not happy that Rapinoe choice to stage her protest before a USWNT game.
The organization released the following statement:
"Representing your country is a privilege and honor for any player or coach that is associated with U.S. Soccer's National Teams. Therefore, our national anthem has particular significance for U.S. Soccer. In front of national and often global audiences, the playing of our national anthem is an opportunity for our Men's and Women's National Team players and coaches 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."
Rapinoe stood behind her right to protest in response.
"Quite frankly, it's my first amendment right to peacefully protest and I think I'm well within the bounds of that," Rapinoe said.
U.S. Soccer could choose to punish Rapinoe, but it hasn't taken any action against her.
The player said she plans to continue kneeling during the anthem until she comes up with a different way to make her voice heard.