When it comes to political protest, this athlete thinks it should be a decision one makes solo.
During an appearance on the All of Us: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show podcast on Aug. 10, former U.S. women’s national soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo called out teammate Megan Rapinoe for allegedly pressuring players to kneel during the national anthem, a symbol of protest against police brutality and racial injustice. The two women played together on the team from 2006 through 2016.
In 2016, then–San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously started the #TakeAKnee movement when he sat during the “Star Spangled Banner” before a game. Said Solo, “I think the kneeling thing can be very divisive. I do appreciate the fact that there’s no national anthem right before the game to really remove that decision from athletes because that’s very tough,” Solo said before alleging, “I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way.”
E! News has reached out to Rapinoe for comment, but has not yet heard back. Rapinoe was first photographed kneeling at a game in September 2016, a month after Solo’s national team contract was terminated.
According to Solo, taking a stance on something should be a personal decision for athletes. “It’s our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we’re comfortable with,” she said. “I think that’s really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes. There’s a lot of pressure.”