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.
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.