NWSL issues statement, no discipline over Anthem

The Equalizer Staff September 22, 2016 158
Neither Megan Rapinoe--shown here playing for the U.S.--or the Washington Spirit will be fined or otherwise punished for the National Anthem flap from September 7.

Neither Megan Rapinoe–shown here playing for the U.S.–or the Washington Spirit will be fined or otherwise punished for the National Anthem flap from September 7.

The NWSL issued a brief statement on Friday saying there would be no fines or discipline stemming from recent issues regarding the National Anthem. Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the anthem on September 4 in Chicago. Three nights later, the Washington Spirit elected to play the anthem before the players left the locker room, thus denying Rapinoe a chance to continue her protest.

The statement reads:

We have spoken with all parties involved regarding these matters and determined not to issue any fines. The League has taken this opportunity to reinforce our expectations that all NWSL policies and protocol are followed by everyone who represents the league.

Asked if there were any specifics about those policies and protocol, a league spokesperson respodned: “No.”

Rapinoe said after the match in Chicago that taking a knee was a nod to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first sat down and then began kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner in an effort to further dialogue about the treatment of African Americans in the country. Rapinoe said she was trying to help further the discussion. She added: “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.”

Several NFL players have since joined Kaepernick in keeling during the National Anthem and the Seattle Seahawks have begun linking arms as a team. Seahawks player Richard Sherman this week refused to answer questions from media and instead made a statement about two recent deaths of African Americans by the guns of police officers. Prior to Wednesday night’s WNBA playoff game, the entire Indiana Fever team knelt during the National Anthem. NBA players have hinted that there will be some form of protest when their season opens next month.

{MORE: Rapinoe calls Spirit owner homophobic | LAULETTA: Spirit got it all wrong}

Rapinoe has been in one NWSL match since the Spirit fast tracked the anthem and before that game, on September 11, the Reign locked arms as a team during the national anthem. In two subsequent games for the United States, Rapinoe again went to a knee, over objections from U.S. Soccer. The Reign finish the regular season on Sunday night in Houston. That match will be broadcast live on FS1.

  • smallchief

    A wise move by the NWSL not to punish Rapinoe. There’s no reason to be holier than the holiest — the NFL.

    • mockmook

      Both leagues are run by cowards.

      • Uncle Sam

        Should they be tried for treason and executed?

        • mockmook

          ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’

  • x

    Good.

  • obo

    Any news on the injury to Lianne Sanderson that had her stretchered off the field tho??? Or the injury that supposedly kept Kim Little out of Euro two days ago??? Like, any actual news on these potential playoff-affecting injuries??? Y’all didn’t even cover the Flash-Thailand friendly or the Euro tourney, which, fine, whatever, but Little in particular is a big part of the only team out of the top 5 with a playoff shot and Sanderson’s started 8 of 9 games for WNY, the only team that hasn’t clinched?

    • x

      I’m a little concerned that a likely NWSL playoff team found a lineup that couldn’t beat Thailand. That’s…odd.

      • Ethan

        I don’t think it’s that concerning given that it was most likely a bad day at the office for WNY in the finishing department. However, given how many people want players from the NWSL to replace current NT players/compete for spots with them, not writing an article about the match was peculiar.

        • x

          Ehh, the WNY website has a 12/5 shot margin FWIW. They didn’t stream so I can’t really analyze. But I think an NWSL side missing some pieces should still be able to crush a bad, undersupported team like Thailand.

          • Lindsey

            I was at the game and it looked to me like WNY really took their foot off the pedal after Sanderson had to leave the game. It was almost like the players realized that there is no point in risking injury for a game that doesn’t matter when they have the most important game of the season to play in 6 days. Riley did use the opportunity to give all 3 goalkeepers decent minutes probably trying to figure out which one he is going to cut before next season. I’m not sure how useful it was since the GKs were rarely tested by Thailand and even if they were it would be more of the fact that they were missing Kennedy and Hinkle than the GK not having good communications or not being up to par in comparison with the others.

          • x

            Thanks for sharing your observations 🙂

    • mockmook

      The EQ is devolving into the Rapinoe channel 24/7

      • Observed

        24/7 wrong wing fascism can be found on the AM dial, or Breitbart, Stormfront.

      • TsovLoj

        The comment section’s always been chaotic and trolly. That isn’t new.

        Wonder whatever happened to those Germans we used to have?

    • kernel_thai

      Few facts but it doesnt sound good. She was scheduled for an MRI Tuesday and no results have been reported. Speculation is knee ligaments which if she is lucky and they r only sprained u wont have her for the rest of the season.

      • obo

        Source?

        • kernel_thai

          The source was Paul Riley on the Soccer is a Kick in the Grass webcast/podcast on Monday

      • Chak Khan

        Wait. USSOCCER allows a NWSL/WNYF team to play against an NT of another country?!!

        • kernel_thai

          Last year before WC China had a friendly against the Seattle Reign. When Waldrum was coaching both Trinidad & Tobago & the Dash he tried to set up friendlies between the two but it never worked out

          • Chak Khan

            Oh, man, I missed out these games. Okay. Where do I find info on similar matches?

    • Steglitz49

      Nadia Nadim of Portland scored the 2nd goal in Denmark’s 2-0 rout of Sweden.

      Lisa Dahlkvist, Sweden’s expert penalty taker injured her knee, probably meniscus, and will lose the rest of the season. Caroline Seger was injured too but not as seriously. Not a good evening for Sweden’s WNT.

      • boromict cumbordor

        Dahlkvist is fine according to Swedish media today: http://www.dn.se/sport/fotboll/positivt-besked-for-lisa-dahlkvist/

        Swelling behind the meniscus, not a tear or strain, and expected to be available next weekend.

        • Steglitz49

          Thank you.

          Given the players involved in this match, Nadim and the banes of the USWNT, one would have thought that the EQ could have put together something.

  • Claro

    I’ve always thought Wrong way Pinoe had bigger stones than Gulati.

    • Terry Lash

      Gulati has a pair? I never realized that.

  • Lorehead

    I think this is a good call. It’s a free country, and many people disagree with this protest, for legitimate reason. So let their response to her free speech be more free speech.

    The national team is a different situation, and she’s explicitly violating a rule there that exists for good reason. She’s likely to get suspended until she agrees to stop.

    • mockmook

      “She’s likely to get suspended until she agrees to stop.”

      Based on what? They have rolled over for her so far.

      BTW, it’s not brave to protest unless she gets an ultimatum.

      • DNG

        The USSF might have been trying to avoid any possible bad publicity. She may be one of the players not called in for the Oct matches.

        • Lorehead

          It’s got to represent the entire country, while the Portland Thorns can cater to a devoted urbanite liberal niche. There are some things it can’t avoid taking sides on; it pretty much can’t avoid standing with its gay, Latino or foreign-born players. But this particular debate is not in its wheelhouse.

        • mockmook

          Isn’t upsetting fans who want the flag/anthem honored also “bad publicity”?

          • Observed

            Flag worship has nothing to do with a soccer game. Next, you’ll want players to kiss the flag before the anthem.

          • mockmook

            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend that you haven’t read why I object to the Rapinoe protest (my objection has nothing to do with honoring the flag or the anthem).

            What I object to is the hypocrisy of it all. If a player/protester was supporting a “conservative” cause, these protests would be shut down INSTANTLY.

            So, this isn’t about free speech — not when only PC-approved speech is tolerated.

            Regardless, isn’t upsetting fans who want the flag/anthem honored also “bad publicity”? It’s a simple question, not a political statement — you get the difference, right?

          • Lorehead

            You don’t get to accuse us of hypocrisy ahead of time for something we haven’t done.

          • mockmook

            It’s an easy projection.

            Take the NY Subway for instance: Allowed political content in the ads/posters on the train. A conservative put up some ads on radical Islam — instantly the subway decided that political ads would no longer be accepted.

            There are more examples (college speech codes, colleges dropping “conservative” speakers, etc.), so it is an easy call.

            My “model” to predict this is as robust as the models predicting catastrophic AGW.

          • Lorehead

            Okay, if you actually define Conservatism as divisive hatemongering, which those ads were, then yes. That kind of Conservatism (which many Republicans strongly oppose) is never going to be socially acceptable. USSF, the NWSL and the players are going to be forced to stand against it. If it’s a Conservative principle that Nadia Nadim should not be allowed to live and work in the U.S. because of her religion and birthplace, and that she should be treated as a danger to us all, that forces everyone to choose between Conservative principles and Nadia Nadim. If it’s a Conservative principle that Ella Masar and Erin McLeod are not really married, must never be publicly acknowledged as married, and that they are a danger to society, that forces everyone to choose between Conservative principles and the two of them. If Conservatives can’t accept Sofia Huerta or Ashley Sanchez as fully American, you get the idea.

            On the other hand, people seem happy to accept Tobin Heath talking about her Christian faith, because she does that without attacking anyone else.

          • mockmook

            Sure, if Jihadists are nice people it is hate mongering.

            I’ll let the readers decide:

            http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/jihad1.jpeg

          • Lorehead

            He actually complained that New York City wouldn’t carry ads containing a blood libel against a minority religion. And you will notice that his position is, even on its own terms, hypocritical: he said he thinks people should be able to say things he agrees with and other people consider offensive, but not things he finds offensive. Which is the same thing he accused his opponents of doing.

          • mockmook

            Babble on brother.

            “several people have asked me to stop arguing with him about politics, so I’m going to take that advice.”
            — Lorehead

          • Lorehead

            You’re telling me I should apply that to every comment section here and just block you entirely? All right. I’m sorry to have to do that to you, but you can’t change your mind and won’t change the subject.

            In case anyone else wants to block either of us, the option appears if you mouseover his name (or mine) and click on the downward wedge to the right.

          • mockmook

            Too Funny!!!

            I quote you and that’s what finally makes you get really mad.

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            I’m not sure if it’s exactly “hatemongering” but there is certainly some stereotyping there. It’s suggesting that the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories is simply about “Israel vs. Jihad,” as if anyone who opposes some of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians (as do a good number of Israelis) is somehow on the side of “Jihad” or does not “support Israel.” The Palestinian Muslims who oppose the Israeli occupation are not necessarily Jihadis. I can see why it would be considered inflammatory.

          • Lorehead

            That wasn’t the only ad Pam Gellar ran. One put a line from an English translation of the Quran that used the word “terror,” out of context, in front of a picture of the Twin Towers burning, That’s the equivalent of accusing Christians of being child abusers because some translations of the New Testament say, “Suffer the little children to come to me.”

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            OK, I wasn’t familiar with this story – I was just going by the one that Mockmook posted.

            I think this sort of debate is where it’s helpful to remember that free speech is not the right to say whatever you want *whenever and wherever you want to say it*. (That’s why I also take the position that Bill Lynch was within his prerogative to play the anthem early, even if I personally didn’t agree with it.) While the NY subway system presumably has public funding, I imagine most constitutional law experts would agree that it should be allowed some leeway for deciding when a proposed ad is too potentially inflammatory or offensive to run. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that something that potentially insults a religious or ethnic group is over the line (as opposed to something fairly benign like, say, “End Obamacare Now” or “Vote Hillary for President”).

          • Lorehead

            At the end of the day, we all have to live and work together peacefully. So people have to tolerate gingers and can’t “tolerate” the opinion that gingers don’t have souls. If it’s them or you, decent people are going to side with them. The U.S. has settled on a system where the consequences for saying that gingers don’t have souls are social and commercial rather than legal, and it mostly seems to work well, but it is logically impossible for gingers to feel safe and welcome while many people are going around saying that we can’t trust gingers because they have no souls.

          • mockmook

            What if you tell the truth about a particular religion that some people are uncomfortable with?

          • mockmook

            You are putting your own interpretation on it, putting words into the posters “mouth” — the literal message is that Jihadists are the enemies of Israel (and civilization) and we should support Israel.

            Disagree with that, not with what you imagine it to say.

          • guest

            it’s not necessarily about flag worship or showing national patriotism. but just simply showing respect to your country’s national anthem and the opposing team’s anthem. being respectful would seem to be a good thing for the world. i presume by your position then that you think national team players should have the choice to sit down during the playing of the opposing team’s anthem as well in the name of fairness.

          • kernel_thai

            Which is why Rapinoe never should have brought her protest to the pitch.

          • guest

            the flag protesters can only do the same protest so long before it loses attention. this might be the next stage to maintain attention.

            http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/09/21/flag-stomping-teacher-has-no-regrets-wants-student-punished.html

      • guest

        somebody should organize a twitter #boycotttheuswnt. that will get the ussf’s attention. in the end, it’s the paying sports fans that make the final decision.

    • kernel_thai

      I agree on both points. Hard to punish one without punishing both. And the entire purpose of USSF making that statement during the Thailand match was to draw the line in the sand. Then at the NL match Ellis mentions that she’ll be bringing in young players and resting some veterans at the next two camps. Perfect way to remove Rapinoe’s stage without making a scene at a match.

      • AlexH

        If the USSF is going to suspend Rapinoe they should just do it openly and not shunt her aside with some pretext. Why? because word will get out anyway at the the pro MR crowd will be up in arms and the pro Federation folks will deride them as cowards. The federation needs to have the courage of its convictions, mean what it says and say what it means.

        • kernel_thai

          Because this is how it’s done in the real world and it’s really unfortunate that athlete’s have to have this done publicly. If ur boss was trying to send u a message he/she wouldnt call a press conference. I imagine it would be done in private. Let the media speculate all they want. Sometimes the best way to get someone’s attention is ignore them.

          • Lorehead

            Besides, they don’t want to give the impression that they’re making a statement about the issue she’s protesting, itself.

          • kernel_thai

            One of the most unfortunate aspects of Rapinoe’s protest is it has raised very little attention for the issues she is supporting. The conversation has almost completely focused on whether or not it is appropriate to protest during the anthem and not on the unequal treatment some minorities r suffering from police.

          • Lorehead

            I think it’s a whole lot more appropriate than the riots down in Charlotte, which are going to be actively counterproductive on election day.

          • mockmook

            Of course, you’re not worried about violence or property destruction, you are only worried about how it will affect your precious Hillarity.

          • Lorehead

            You’re paranoid.

          • Steglitz49

            For too many decades the Democrats took the black vote for granted. They paid lip service to it. Likewise, it took the female votes for granted.

            In this odd election being perceived as trustworthy and healthy may carry more weight than any policies.

          • Lorehead

            It’s true that Republicans used to get a much higher share of the black vote before 1964, when their nominee ran against the Civil Rights Act. There also wasn’t the gender gap there is now until the ’80s, and George W. Bush got a significant share of the Latino vote. I wouldn’t say that the Democrats have done nothing for either lately—the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act comes to mind—but it’s true they haven’t really had to promise a lot to demographic groups their opponents have completely ceded to them.

          • Steglitz49

            The Bush family has Latino connections and part of the family at least make use of that politically.

            I suspect that the election may well be decided on how many women will hold their noses when they vote. Some may not vote at all, of course.

          • NYRick

            Are you sure Rapinoe is not get picked for the Oct. camp/matches? Am not. I think she’ll be there.

            Team sports should not be about individuals. I don’t (and I’m sure most others) give a toss about her cause/statement on injustice or anyone else’s for that matter. I would be interested to see a pro tennis player during a Davis Cup match do this. I’m pretty sure the anthems are played before international tournaments. Then that is totally individual. How would that be approached? You just can’t have that.

          • kernel_thai

            Im not sure about anything Ellis does. It is quite possible she just brings in the same players she brought in last October. If they do bring in Rapinoe in October I take it as a clear message: As long as u r still in our plans anything goes.

          • Lorehead

            Ellis probably doesn’t see it as her job to bench players over politics.

    • Observed

      What good reason? The WNT is not part of the federal government.

      • Lorehead

        First, I don’t want protests during the national anthems to become a regular thing. What if Mexicans or Russians started protesting during “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the pretext that we do it too? Second, the national team is supposed to be a symbol of national unity.

      • Terry Lash

        Actually, US Soccer is chartered by the US government through the IOC to provide men’s and women’s soccer teams at the OG and WC/WWC. Thereby these teams represent the USA. Congress could take a variety of actions against US Soccer if the government were to determine that the organization should not further represent the country by providing soccer teams.

        • Lorehead

          I think that technically only applies to its right to represent the U.S. at the Olympics. But it doesn’t want to lose its tax-exempt status, either.

    • FlyingSquirrel42

      I think she should probably stop after the NWSL season ends. Not because the cause isn’t worthy, but because she’ll have made her point and it will reach a level where the story becomes more about the protest itself than about the issue being protested.

      I think neutrality is the way to go for the league and federation – don’t endorse it, but don’t punish it either.

      • Lorehead

        The federation has backed itself into a corner here, but the punishment might just be that it’s up to her whether she feels so strongly about this that she’ll choose a suspension without pay. When she feels ready to stand for the anthem again, she’s welcome to wear the uniform and crest.

        • kernel_thai

          I dont think suspension is appropriate but I can see them not call her in. There is no way to appeal that and she’d be leaving her win bonuses on the table.

    • kernel_thai

      This is starting to remind me of outlawing prayer in schools. I always wondered why it was a big deal. If ur child wants to pray in school no one can stop them. They can pray straight thru from first bell until they get on the bus to go home. Instead it became amazingly important that students be allowed to pray together in an organized fashion. Rapinoe’s protest is turning into the same thing. Rapinoe can raise awareness about her cause pretty much any time she wants to. I mean how busy can she be during the day? Instead she only wants to do it during the national anthem of her soccer matches. For club that is once a week and for the NT maybe once or twice a month. Not a very effective protest.

      • Lorehead

        And in fact the debate formally was about whether schools could suggest that the moment of silence they were allowing each morning be used for silent prayer. It picked up a symbolic importance completely disconnected from any practical effect, which was all about one tribe of people losing power.

  • Bruce

    Losing interest in this web site.

    • kernel_thai

      Or at least the topic?

    • NYRick

      It is incredibly left bias slanted for any articles that have any hint of political or social relevance. They really need to stop with these articles at this point.

      We get it. Gay is good. Hetero is bad. Pinoe is good. Disagree with Pinoe you are a homophobe. Let’s move on.

      • Ethan

        “Hetero is bad.”? Let’s not exaggerate. I don’t know about the need for previous articles, but Equalizer was obligated to write this article since NWSL specifically released a statement.

        • NYRick

          I was being sarcastic, but that tends to be the direction of the theme of most of these articles.

          • smallchief

            Perhaps it is that most people are not offended by Rapinoe’s mild, inoffensive, and non-threatening protest.

            Do Americans believe to freedom — or are we supposed to behave like a herd of sheep?

          • mockmook

            SHE’S AT WORK!!!!

            You don’t go into work and protest do you?

      • Lorehead

        Maybe this positive article about Christian athletes, one of several, will cleanse your palate? And I’ve seen plenty of positive stories about investors (so long as they don’t mistreat their employees) and patriotic cheering for the USA.

        I agree with you that the site definitely takes a moral position that’s for cosmopolitan inclusiveness. It’s not acceptable for a fan to say that Nadine Angerer or Nadia Nadim are evil people who don’t deserve to live here. But that doesn’t come at the expense of anyone else, any more than the success of women’s sports should threaten men. Tobin Heath and Lauren Holiday are beloved, too.

  • GT

    So any time any player feels strongly about any issue (abortion, Obamacare, gun control, taxes, you name it) they should take a knee during the National Anthem to express their freedom of speech? 22 players taking a knee during the National Anthem expressing their freedom of speech for 22 different issues? That would make a mockery of not only the National Anthem but also of Women’s Soccer. Maybe they should not play the National Anthem at soccer games or any professional sports. Maybe their should be not any American Flags flown at any sports stadium. Maybe they shouldn’t play either the American national anthem or the other countries’ national anthem during international games. We don’t want to suppress anyone’s freedom of speech or expression.

    • Paul Klee

      Well kneeling is for making people aware of racist cops. You would need to differentiate your protest from that. I suggest the following anthem protest for these issues abortion curling up in the fetal position and lying on the ground. Death penalty – – lying on the ground again, but this time like you’re lying in a coffin. gun control – – obviously making pistol gestures with your hands.Taxes– – Hand on your rear end like you’re protecting your wallet. Income inequality – – rubbing your thumbs over your fingers in the international gesture for money. Opposition to dogfighting – – kneeling on both knees arms in front of you with your hands curled out with your tongue hanging out of your mouth. any others?

      • GT

        Now we’re talking protests!

      • GT

        How about if you want to protest Rapinoe’s protest, you could stay behind her with a mock karate chop?.

      • Chak Khan

        Opposition to dogfighting, I am all for that! But first I must take yoga for all that body contortion.

      • NYRick

        Protesting the Burger King Dollar Value Menu (your protest will center around the fact that most items are more than one dollar):

        Sitting on your knees while holding a one dollar bill with your right arm pointed at the sky while vigorously shaking your head.

        • NYRick

          Forgot…while wearing the creepy Burger King face mask.

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            I’d have been down for a Burger King protest right after I finished college – it was the only fast-food restaurant I could walk to. Man was I sick of that place by the time I graduated.

          • JL

            I can’t stand their food because it’s so loaded with sodium. I had it one time and never again. I generally don’t eat much fast food anyway, it’s so bad for you.

        • kernel_thai

          Someone on the BS board pointed out that the kids used in the walk out in Portland r all down on one knee during the anthem. I have to assume they r protesting that they arent old enough to vote the people coming up with silly laws out of office.

      • NYRick

        Protesting anyone exceeding the 10 item limit at your local supermarket check-out line specifically for 10 items.

        Simply take a knee, put 11 well placed grocery items in front of you (bread, milk, paper towels etc.) It has to be exactly 11. Then hold up both hands above your head with 5 fingers spread fully spread out (basically showing the hands up gesture), while you are repeatedly silently mouthing the words, “Only 10.” This will go on for the duration of the 2 minute anthem in a loop fashion.

        • Lorehead

          Also, you shouldn’t kiss your wife, because if everybody kissed your wife, she’d go through a lot of chapstick.

      • NYRick

        Protesting the visual appearance of any male in public wearing only a douche tag (you know that patch of facial hair just below the lip).

        Take a knee. Pull out a sharpie and proceed to mark a small area just below your lip and above the chin. All while vigorously wagging one finger in defiance.

  • FlyingSquirrel42

    “The League has taken this opportunity to reinforce our expectations that all NWSL policies and protocol are followed by everyone who represents the league.”

    So what exactly *are* these policies and protocol?

    • obo

      > 9.2.4 OFFICIALS AND STARTING TEAM ENTRY The Game Officials and starting Players will enter the field FIFA style to the Home Team’s choice of Introduction song or the FIFA Anthem (see Exhibit K). The assistant referees will assist the Teams with getting Teams out of the locker rooms in a timely manner.

      > 9.2.6 NATIONAL ANTHEMS For all NWSL League Season Games, the U.S. National Anthem will either be performed live or played to track according to the Game Day Timeline.
      > 9.2.7 FLAG PROTOCOL For all NWSL League Season Games, the U.S. country flag will be displayed in the stadium.
      If the flag are displayed on field during the pre-game ceremonies, the flag will be placed in front of the teams lined up on the field.

      > 11.3.6 MAJOR GAME MISCONDUCT In addition to those offenses set forth above, major fines or suspensions, at the sole and absolute discretion of the League Office, will be levied against Players (whether or not they were awarded a card by the Referee), Coaches, or other Team staff for such Game conduct as fighting or provoking a fight, criticizing Game Officials with words or gestures, entering the Game Officials’ locker room, physical contact with Game Officials separate from Referee assault, using excessive force, deliberate attempts to injure, spitting, provoking crowd disorders, profane language that can be heard by the crowd or broadcast audience, obscene gestures, improper conduct during the National Anthem, taunting, abuse of spectators and others, failure to leave the field when instructed by the Referee to do so, improper conduct following the award of a card, excessive delay tactics or excessive or obvious feigning of injuries, intentional dives, or other unsportsmanlike conduct detrimental to the NWSL League. The League Office may levy fines and/or suspensions for such behavior whether or not it is reported in the Referee Report.

      • FlyingSquirrel42

        Thanks. So basically this comes down to whether the league considers Rapinoe’s conduct “improper.”

        Given that what she’s doing is a pretty passive form of protest, as opposed to, say, yelling something during the anthem or making an offensive gesture at somebody, I’d say they’re right in choosing not to impose any punishment for it.

        (I still say that the real solution is just to stop playing the anthem in the first place – there’s nothing uniquely “patriotic” about a soccer game compared to any other form of mass entertainment.)

        • GT

          I think the word offensive is subjective. Also I can’t think of very many events that are “uniquely patriotic” (except the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day). Maybe I’m old fashioned but I enjoy standing at attention for the National Anthem at sporting events. It gives me a feeling of unity and appreciation for how good we have it in this country. I also think there is nothing “uniquely political” about a soccer game compared to other avenues, vehicles and forums for political expression that Ms Rapinoe has access to.

          • rkmid71

            I’m in the old fashioned category also. In addition to the feeling of unity and appreciating how good we have it, it’s the humble appreciation of the ultimate sacrifice of so many of our fellow citizens (male, female, black, white, latino, gay, straight, etc etc). Does anyone think what she’s doing is helpful to WoSo in the US? As you say, there is something unifying about sporting events. What Rapinoe is doing is not unifying. The NFL may be able to cope, but WoSo?

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            YMMV. I just don’t really see a soccer game as something that invokes the feeling of unity and appreciation any more than anything else we might do on a given day (working at our jobs, going grocery shopping, watching TV, or whatever). For that matter, soccer teams probably tend to be less uniformly American, in terms of who’s actually playing, than the average MLB, NFL, or NBA team.

            As for “offensive” being subjective, I agree, but I think it’s reasonable to draw the line between an essentially passive gesture (as Rapinoe is doing) and an active and disruptive one. It’s not as if Rapinoe is yelling something during the anthem or flipping the bird at people, both of which I think most people would agree is offensive and would certainly merit a suspension.

          • AlexH

            Why is flipping the bird any more active or disruptive than taking a knee? What about thumbing your nose or turning your back? Are we really going set up some sort of guideline of what constitutes offensive, disruptiove and active vs. passive? Either we have a national anthem ceremony where everybody participates in the time tested way or we should just ditch the entire thing.

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            Taking a knee is declining to participate. Flipping the bird is insulting and harassing someone else. It’s like the difference between a student not paying attention during class and talking or making fun of the teacher.

          • AlexH

            That is your opinion. Lots of people are way more offended by not standing for the anthem than getting flipped off. And for the record she is not “declining to participate” she is actively assuming a posture that offends people. Declining to participate would mean her staying in the locker room.

          • Lorehead

            It turns out that liberals like me pretty much think the only moral issues are doing harm to others, and fairness. Most conservatives think some other stuff is just as important, including purity, loyalty and reverence for sacred symbols. But they generally feel they have to justify these conclusions in terms of harm and fairness, so you get strained rationalizations about how she shouldn’t be allowed to disrespect the flag because people will get offended. (Would a good name for the idea that people shouldn’t be able to express opinions that offend a vocal minority be “political correctness?”)

            The flag is a sacred symbol that the people who self-identify as conservatives in the U.S. revere. It’s equivalent to how Muslims react to desecration of the Quran, or orthodox Jews to desecration of a Torah scroll.

          • AlexH

            First off, the flag isn’t a liberal or conservative thing. Lots of liberals have gotten hacked off about MR too. Flag snubbing is just in among the progressive chic. If you don’t believe me look at the DNC convention where most showed due respect during the patriotic ceremonies.

            Second, liberals have their own set of sacred symbols, rituals and causes as well and woe unto those that don’t show due reverence. If you don’t believe me spend some time on a college campus.

          • Lorehead

            I agree that the flag is a symbol of the entire nation, not any one party or faction. I also agree that many campus activists (and many other liberals) can get pompous. For what it’s worth, though, research shows that this is a real difference between liberals and conservatives, on average. Most liberals, more or less, care about double standards (fairness) or bigotry (harm), but don’t really think of disgust or shock as moral arguments at all.

          • Paul Klee

            One point here: you should be outraged at Megan Rapinoe for violating your moral code by harming people with her protest. She knows that what she is doing is offending some people. And as we know from our institutions of higher learning offending somebody whether intentional or unintentional is a micro-aggression causing them harm. Unless you believe some people have the right to be offended and others do not. But wait a second, that would violate your second moral imperative, that would just not be fair.

          • Lorehead

            Wow, you sure beat up that strawman.

          • Paul Klee

            OK, admit it, you have no moral code! Only selective outrage at harm done to certain people and you are all about treating some people Unfairly.

          • Lorehead

            That’s not true either. Stop trolling.

          • Paul Klee

            Did Megan Rapinoe offend people?
            Yes
            Does liberal orthodoxy state that offending people causes them harm?
            Yes
            Therefore Megan Rapinoe caused some people harm.

            Your moral code as a liberal as stated by you opposes only two things causing people harm and treating people unfairly.

            Therefore integrity demands your opposition to Megan Rapinoe actions based on one of your key beliefs is that she is causing people harm.

            Unless you lack moral integrity then, of course, it is unsurprising that you would disregard you other key moral tenet and advocate treating groups of people unfairly.

            That’s not a troll that’s the truth. As with most liberal views when they are exposed to the truth it turns out upon reflection they are ugly.

          • Lorehead

            This is the third time in this conversation alone that you’ve tried to tell me I believe a bunch of stuff that, in fact, I don’t.

          • Paul Klee

            I know, it’s great because you can’t even refute my comments. You make some pompous comments patting yourself on the back for what you believe to be the pinnacle of liberal virtue followed immediately by some condescending remarks toward what you believe are Conservative values.

            Talk about straw-men! seems to be your modus operandi?

            So with a simple logic construct I point out the hypocrisy of your stated beliefs. Demonstrating another fraudulent liberal belief claiming they care about some cause when all they really care about is looking like they care. Just like Megan Rapinoe.

          • Lorehead

            You’re deliberately misreading me in a perverse way just to be obnoxious. I’m not going to discuss this with you beyond telling you that I don’t believe the things you’re ranting about at all, because you aren’t arguing in good faith. I’m blocking you now.

          • Paul Klee

            No just pointing out the shallowness of your beliefs, I’m sure you don’t like probably hearing the truth is obnoxious.

          • Steglitz49

            Why don’t you block him? You block everyone you disagree with, so simply add him to your list.

          • Guest

            Why would you make an assumption that all liberals think offending people causes them harm? The two words have different meanings.

          • Paul Klee

            See initial response to Lorehead, it was basically his claim. The Liberal status quo now as evidenced by college campuses is offending others whether intentional or not is a micro aggression that causes harm. So to a liberal offending A person causes that person harm.

          • dognphyte

            You will rarely get these people (such as Lorehead) to follow the implications of liberal policies and to acknowledge that they only want their “rules” enforced selectively.

          • mockmook

            What a bunch of crap.

            1) You lump all conservatives into a monolith, you are stereotyping

            2) You lump all liberals into another stereotype

            3) There are numerous good reasons to oppose what Rapinoe is doing that have nothing to do with reverence for the flag /anthem.

          • Steglitz49

            The Senate has failed the American people in not holding the conformation hearing on the proposed Supreme Court judge.

            Once a party abandons the Spirit of the Constitutions soon any and all rights are under threat.

          • mockmook

            The reason the GOP is not acting on the Court is BECAUSE the Dems have abandoned the Constitution and any Dem appointee will be hell bent on taking away individual rights.

          • Steglitz49

            If you believe that, you believe anything.

            There is a code of conduct in all walks of life, like a lady does not invite a man up to her hotel-room and only agrees to view etchings if she understands the meaning of the phrase. Likewise, when a party for personal gain abandons the unwritten principles of life, they damage the whole fabric of society. Such damage is not readily repaired. By their fruit ye shall know them.

            Btw, feel free to visit a certain new museum on the Mall. There is another one a bit off the Mall, closer to the Tidal Basin, also worth a pilgrimage.

          • mockmook

            What about all the “liberal” policies/results that are doing real harm?

            Record debt
            No reins on government power
            Little to no economic growth
            Dysfunctional schools
            Loss of individual rights
            Uncontrolled illegal immigration

            Etc.

          • Joel

            Liberals have their own religion, they just try to portray it differently. Here are a couple of examples. Liberals really dig the issue of the government taking from some people and giving to others. Take from the middle class single guy, give to Solyndra executives. In addition, they love the government making old nuns buy health insurance which covers contraception.

            They have their own moral imperatives, they are just so blind because they choose not to see.

          • Lorehead

            It is absolutely true that we have moral values. We think that some things are right and that some things are wrong. Not all the people you call “liberals” or who call themselves that agree with each other on what those are.

            I’m not sure why you would think we would claim otherwise, but I would suggest that you spend more time listening to what people say about themselves before you judge them, and less listening to what people who hate them say they’re like.

          • guest

            remember rapinoe got all mad when the anthem got played while she was in the locker room and she couldn’t participate. she is certainly doing more than not participating. she is protesting and trying to provoke.

          • Paul Klee

            That is a remarkably ignorant analogy The correct analogy would be for the single student to remain standing in the middle of her classmates while they were seated. This would be a demonstration of disrespect toward The instructor and to her classmates.

          • guest

            the nwsl rule states even just improper conduct during the national anthem is a violation. it doesn’t even need to be offensive conduct during the national anthem. the question is whether or not the nwsl will enforce it’s rules.

          • GT

            We are going to have to agree to disagree. All ten NWSL teams are in American cities, watched predominantly by American fans and although only about 75-80% of the players are American, all the better. They bring in world class players into what many consider to be the best Women’s soccer league in the world. As a Sky Blue fan i love watching Sam Kerr play. If standing for the National Anthem doesn’t invoke in you a sense of unity, pride and appreciation for this great country we live in, that’s fine, but don’t criticize me for feeling that way. For many of us, seeing someone “flip the bird” may be provocative or viewed as childish, but disrespecting the flag is much more offensive, especially among us veterans. And as I said earlier, I don’t think there is anything “uniquely political” about a soccer game compared to other vehicles, avenues or forums for political expression that Ms. Rapinoe has access to.

          • FlyingSquirrel42

            I’m fine with agreeing to disagree, but I would like to clarify that I did not say this:

            “If standing for the National Anthem doesn’t invoke in you a sense of unity, pride and appreciation for this great country we live in, that’s fine, but don’t criticize me for feeling that way.”

            I’m not criticizing you for feeling that way, nor am I saying that I don’t feel that way. I’m just saying that I’m not sure sports events are the most appropriate or fitting venue for it. As for “flipping the bird,” I was referring specifically to doing that as a display of disrespect during the anthem, not to just doing it at random.

          • Lorehead

            It’s definitely hard to draw the line between what kinds of display are acceptable and what aren’t. Jess Fishlock famously flipped us fans in Portland the bird, and it was all in good fun. The webstream edited it out, but you can still hear the live color commentary. The ref could’ve red-carded her for it, though. But flipping the bird during the anthem would be going too far, and I’m sure the league would punish that.

          • Arcie Tillydee

            No she didn’t…at least if you’re talking about what she did in her debut at Providence Park in 2013. That happened right in front of me (fifth row…), and it was an “up yours” sort of raised fist, not the finger. =)

            I’ve loved her from that point forward…still my favorite non-Thorn in the league.

          • Lorehead

            Funny, that’s exactly where Dave Anderson was sitting, too.

          • Arcie Tillydee

            That gasbag…? =P

          • Lorehead

            I know! What a coincidence.

          • guest

            Didn’t someone have this theory a few days back?

          • GT

            Thank you for not criticizing me. I’m just saying that I’m not sure that a soccer game is an appropriate or fitting venue for political expression, especially compared to other forums for political expression that Ms Rapinoe has access to as a world class soccer player that most of us average citizens don’t have. I think most people go to an NWSL soccer game to see world class soccer, watching our favorite teams and our favorite players play the game we love. We don’t go to see the players display their political preferences.

          • guest

            it may not be offensive to some but it is clearly improper conduct.

        • AlexH

          There is no issue as to what is improper during a national anthem. People stand. That is how it has been done for the past 100 years in pretty much every place on the planet. They can either enforce the obvious or be weasels about it.

          • Guest

            This simply isn’t true. Baseball fans didn’t used to stand for the national anthem. Not all fans today stand for the national anthem. I guarantee if you go to a MLB baseball game you can find someone sitting in the stands with their phone out.

          • guest

            he is talking about the players on the field stand. who are the employees of the private organizations. and are required to follow employee conduct rules. i can’t recall more than zero players sitting or kneeling down during the anthem over the last 100 years. certainly not to the point of calling it proper conduct.

        • Lorehead

          I tried to say this earlier, and a very sensitive person took me as not being sufficiently condemnatory of violent protest. I had thought some things went without saying.

          But: this is the right way to protest, I think most people who disagree can see where it’s coming from, and if people stifle it, we’ll see less of it and more protests like in Charlotte.

        • guest

          a kneel down protest during the anthem is clearly improper conduct. proper conduct is stand during the anthem. the question is whether or not the nwsl will penalize players for violating the league policy.

      • guest

        there doesn’t appear to be any explicit rule when the the national anthem is played before the game. so it appears the washington owner was not in violation of any nwsl rules and megan rapinoe was the one in violation of the rules despite her accusatory and inflammatory reaction. i guess people don’t have unlimited free speech rights on private property without the consent of the owner after all. who knew!!!

        • obo

          tl;dr: Yes, there is an explicit rule. The team creates and submits a minute-by-minute timeline of the game day presentation to the league office, and any changes to that timeline have to be approved by the league. The anthem is included in the timeline.

          Lynch changed the timeline without notifying the league office — and Jeff Plush was at the game and confirmed that to media on site minutes after the anthem was moved. Violating the timeline isn’t an automatic fine, but can be (and in this case, was) brought to the disciplinary committee. This article’s PR is the result of the committee’s meeting.

          > 9. GAME PROCEDURES

          > To plan, prepare and implement the game day operations in a consistent manner, an overall Game Procedures
          program has been developed. Each Home Team will comply with these Game Procedures for all NWSL Games.

          > 9.1 GAME DAY PRESENTATION Each Team will ensure a professional and consistent “look” for all NWSL Games.
          Each Team has the opportunity to create its own in-stadium entertainment package, introduce its own game presentation elements and develop local traditions/customs within the framework of consistent guidelines.

          > The following procedures will apply to all NWSL Games.

          9.1.2.A:

          > Game Day Timeline The Game Day Timeline is a detailed timeline for the hours and minutes immediately preceding, during and following a NWSL Game (a sample Game Day Timeline is provided in Exhibit K). All pre-Game, in-Game, and post-Game activities will be dictated by the Game Day Timeline. At a minimum, the Game Day Timeline will be posted in Team locker rooms, the Game Officials’ locker room, and Press Box. Copies will also be provided to the Video Board/Entertainment Box, PA Announcer, Field Management, Stadium Personnel and Security. There may be variations in the Game Day Timeline from Team to Team if discussed with and approved by the League Office. Upon request, each Team will forward to the League Office for review a copy of its Game Day Timeline.

          > 9.2.6 NATIONAL ANTHEMS For all NWSL League Season Games, the U.S. National Anthem will either be
          performed live or played to track according to the Game Day Timeline.

          > 9.7 LEAGUE OVERSIGHT NWSL staff will regularly monitor stadium procedures and other minimum
          performance standards and will recommend fines to the Disciplinary Committee when procedures and
          standards have been violated.

          There’s precedent _this season_ for a violation of the Game Procedures section. The Flash submitted and had approved an unusual Stadium Field Plan (9.1.2.D, adjacent to the timeline submission), but then further deviated from the pre-approved field.

          Depending on whom you ask, the league office either re-approved it and fined the Flash anyway, or approved what they thought was an original larger field plan but not the one that was actually implemented. Either way, the rules that the league used to assess that fine were the same as the rules the league used to decide not to assess this fine.

          • mockmook

            The “minute by minute” timeline was already in the rubbish due to all the weather delays.

      • anson

        It looks like the league can’t enforce it’s own rules! Everyone know why!!! Rapinoe is a CHILD!
        Also Bill Lynch had a gay couple sitting in his private row with him.

  • AlexH

    So if participation in the national anthem, or any other ceremony for that matter, is optional than why bother even having it? Pregame walkouts, hand shakes and pennant exchanges, moments of silence, jersey retirements can all be targets of protest and I would rather they just be omitted than having them turned into some sort of political free for all.

    • Steglitz49

      At European club matches, it is not traditional to play the national anthem. The national anthems of two nations in an international are played.

      But, it is the tradition in the US to play the national anthem and when the national anthem is played, appropriate behavior seems reasonable.

    • kernel_thai

      FIFA enjoys that stuff more than the soccer.

      • tonysocref

        Actually, FIFA only requires the playing of the FIFA anthem as the teams walk out for international friendlies. Playing of national anthems is up to the host country with the requirement that if played it must be done for both teams.

  • Lindsey

    See now if Lynch had told Plush ahead of time what he was planning on doing, given the go-ahead from the league, and then proceeded then Lynch would have been fined, right? That is how this league works, no?

  • sudeep das

    “The flag I’ll stand for is the one that allows its citizens to kneel. #USWNT #Rapinoe” tweeted by Sumiko Huff – probably the most comprehensive viewpoint so far on this raging issue of patriotism.

    • guest

      the flag already allows its citizens to kneel and protest on public property or their own personal property whenever they want. this is not a first amendment rights issue. free speech rights are not unlimited. this is a property rights issue. megan rapinoe does not have the constitutional right to protest on private property without the consent of the owner. it is that simple. like the ussf, the uswnt have reaffirmed. the law is not on megan rapinoe’s side. so she is trying to gain enough public support to influence the owners who actually have the right to make those decisions and try to get them to change their policy.

      • guest

        first amendment rights refers to american citizen protection from the powers of the federal government.

  • Joel

    It’s just fine for USWNT players to quite publicly diss the United States. Just don’t say something about Sweden.