Megan Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign traveled to Washington D.C. to play the Washington Spirit tonight. It’s the Reign’s first game since Rapinoe knelt in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick last weekend. She expected to kneel again tonight, but she didn’t get a chance to, as Washington played the national anthem while the teams were still in the locker room.
The team’s owner, Bill Lynch, said that he decided to silence Rapinoe’s protest because he didn’t want to “subject our fans and friends to the disrespect such an act would represent.” He also made a point of going at Rapinoe for having the gall to “hijack this tradition that means so much to millions of Americans.” Here’s his full statement.
As many have, Lynch is trying to make the leap between Rapinoe and Kaepernick’s protest with disrespect for the military. That is either a misreading or a deliberate falsehood. Rapinoe has been very specific about why she is choosing to kneel, and she also called out people who’ve tried to make a protest about police brutality and systemic racism into something it’s not. Lynch, like others who’ve focused more on the perceived inconveniences of protesting the national anthem than the substance, has nothing to say about why Rapinoe is protesting the national anthem, and to shut her voice down while promoting his own views is very disingenuous. He said he wants to “avoid taking focus away from the game,” and yet he’s the one releasing longform statements about respect.
Thankfully, the Spirit’s Twitter account wasn’t having it, and someone with the keys to the team’s Twitter sent out this glorious fuck you.
Update, 11:24 p.m. EDT: Rapinoe has responded, forcefully and with a slight misreading of “hijacking,” after the game: