US women's soccer player: My anthem protests are 'F you' to Trump administration

US women's soccer player: My anthem protests are 'F you' to Trump administration
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U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe says she’s a “walking protest” when it comes to the Trump administration, saying her decision to kneel during the national anthem is an "F you" to the White House.

"I feel like it's kind of defiance in and of itself to just be who I am and wear the jersey, and represent it," Rapinoe told Yahoo Sports. "Because I'm as talented as I am, I get to be here, you don't get to tell me if I can be here or not.”

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She added: “So it's kind of a good ‘F you' to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don't look exactly like him. Which, God help us if we all looked like him. Scary. Really scary."

The women’s national team co-captain, the first white and first female athlete to take a knee in protest during the national anthem after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the movement, told Yahoo Sports she experienced an “awakening” ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” she said. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”

When the 33-year-old midfielder first took a knee before a national team game, U.S. Soccer released a statement that said, “as part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.” 

Rapinoe said she’ll keep up her protests when the Women’s World Cup tournament begins next month in France.

“Colin Kaepernick very much inspired me, and inspired an entire nation, and still does, to actually think about these things,” she said.

Kaepernick began protesting the anthem during the 2016 NFL season while he was the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. His protests and other athletes' protests have led to backlash from conservatives, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE, who has called for team owners to fire players who protest during the anthem.