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Megan Rapinoe Defends Protest During National Anthem

Megan Rapinoe Defends Protest During National Anthem

Fresh off a World Cup victory, U.S. Women’s National Team co-captain Megan Rapinoe appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night to discuss, among other things, her protest of the national anthem.

Rapinoe, who knelt for the usual pregame playing of the Star Spangled Banner in 2016, protested the anthem during recent soccer matches by not placing her hand over her heart and refusing to sing along. (Rules put in place leading up to the World Cup bar players from kneeling for the pregame tradition).

“I think that taking care of others, standing up for yourself and other people if they don’t have the ability to do so, is very uniquely American,” Rapinoe said after the host asked about her decision to protest despite representing the U.S. on the world stage. “I think everyone in America would say that and I think we have a rich history and a pride in saying that in those words and often times in doing that in the world.”

“I don’t think anybody can deny the horrors of racism and Jim Crow and mass incarceration and what’s happening on the southern border and gay rights and women’s rights,” she continued. “A lot of the people that disagree with me would benefit greatly from a world that is better for everyone.”

Rapinoe denied that her demonstration was disrespecting the U.S. flag, saying instead that “protest is not comfortable ever. It’s going to make people uncomfortable.”

“It’s going to force people to look inward and question everything they thought they knew. It’s not convenient. It doesn’t feel good really for anyone, even in those moments kneeling those were, you know, some of the most crazy personal moments that I’ve ever had but that’s what it takes, progress is hard.”

On Sunday, Rapinoe and her teammates brought home another World Cup victory for the U.S. in a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. Rapinoe received the tournament’s Golden Ball award, which is given to the best player in the World Cup.

Watch above, via CNN.

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