US women's soccer player reveals why she refused to sing the national anthem

US women's soccer player reveals why she refused to sing the national anthem

Megan Rapinoe is well-known for lighting up the pitch with crafty plays and winning goals - but now the US football star is making headlines for a whole other reason: refusing to sing the national anthem.

The 33-year-old athlete raised eyebrows once again on Tuesday evening when she decided against belting out the patriotic song ahead of the country’s opening Women’s World Cup match against Thailand.

REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Alex Morgan of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's twelfth goal during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between USA and Thailand at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 11, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) Credit: Getty

While the rest of her teammates raised their hands to their hearts as they sang to the Star-Spangled Banner, Megan simply stood and watched with her hands behind her back.

Her move spurred outrage on social media from those who questioned her motives and claimed she "hated" America - but it's actually nothing new for the two-time Olympic medal winner.

Megan has been refusing to sing as a stand against President Trump’s stance on minorities for years now.

She first protested in 2016 in support of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice, making her the first white athlete to kneel during the national anthem before a sporting event.

After the United States Soccer Federation instated a rule that required players to "stand and honor the flag," Megan was forced to stop kneeling - but that doesn't mean she'll be singing anytime soon.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 18: Megan Rapinoe #15 kneels during the National Anthem prior to the match between the United States and the Netherlands at Georgia Dome on September 18, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Last month, the soccer star told Yahoo Sports that she would "probably never sing the national anthem again."

In the interview, she explained she was disappointed that her kneeling didn't spur more conversation around the topic of equality and stated that she will continue to protest.

"Using this blanketed patriotism as a defense against what the protest actually is was pretty cowardly. I think the NFL does it," she told Yahoo. "I felt like the statement from U.S. Soccer, and then the rule they made without ever talking to me, that was the same as what the NFL was doing – just to not have the conversation, to try to just stop me from doing what I’m doing instead of at least having a conversation, and trying to figure out a [solution] that makes sense for everyone."

Megan Rapinoe Credit: Getty

She continued: "I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart. I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again. 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."

In addition, the sportswoman has already declined the customary invite to the White House to meet Trump if the US women’s football team wins the World Cup.

She told Sports Illustrated in May: "I am not going to fake it, hobnob with the president, who is clearly against so many of the things that I am for and so many of the things that I actually am. I have no interest in extending our platform to him."