Megan Rapinoe: I Was ‘Naive’ to Think Americans Would Approve Anthem Protest Because I’m ‘Non-Threatening’ White Woman

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 15: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the U.S. Women's National Team kneels during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem before a match against Thailand on September 15, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe over the weekend admitted that she was “naive” for believing that her national anthem protests would be received more favorably because she is a “non-threatening” white woman.

“I actually felt like it was going to be received a little better,” Rapinoe told CNN’s Van Jones, conceding that most of the country did not approve of her protests. “Like, OK, well, woman, white, sort of non-threatening. No, that was not the case.”

Rapinoe became one of the first white athletes to kneel during the national anthem, and the U.S. team’s co-captain refused to put her hand over her heart while the anthem played before the team’s World Cup matches.

“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” Rapnioe told Yahoo Sports last month. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”

Rapinoe wondered why “more people didn’t kneel” and said she thought she would keep the conversation that Colin Kaepernick started going and bring it “to a totally different dynamic in different demographic of people and coming from someone you know, who looks like me.”

“Unless you don’t believe that that’s happening and if you really don’t believe that’s happening, there’s other issues,” she said of various social justice issues and protests. “You know mass incarceration’s happening. You know police brutality, you know the history of our country. For me, honestly it was kind of a no-brainer. I just feel like there was something that I could do, like going back to what I was saying about your personal responsibility to do something, I felt like I can do this.”

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