National anthem played early at soccer game to avoid Megan Rapinoe protest

WASHINGTON — Soccer star Megan Rapinoe didn’t have a chance to continue her “kneeling protest” during the National Anthem.

Last week, before her team played in Chicago, she took a knee during the anthem just like Colin Kaepernick did at the San Francisco 49ers last preseason game.

After that game, Rapinoe said it was a “little nod to Kaepernick and everything he’s standing for.”

Kaepernick has said he is protesting against inequality, racial injustice, and police brutality in America.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” said Rapinoe.

Rapinoe and her team, the Seattle Reign, were set to play the Washington Spirit Wednesday.

But the stadium played the National Anthem before the teams were on the field.

They admitted to altering the pre-game ceremonies rather than “subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent.”

The statement added, “We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise.”

The Spirit says it “respects every individual’s right to express themselves” but “disagrees with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal — albeit worthy — cause. To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to millions of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves.”

After the game, Washington Post reporter Steven Goff tweeted that Rapinoe said, “It was incredibly distasteful, four days before one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say I tried to hijack this event.”