The owner of the Washington D.C. women's soccer team was so scared of Megan Rapinoe kneeling through the national anthem, he ordered the anthem played before she could take the field.
Rapinoe is perhaps the most famous University of Portland soccer alum. She now plays for National Women's Soccer League team the Seattle Reign. Last week, she knelt through a rendition of the national anthem in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is protesting police brutality against black people.
Last night, Rapinoe planned to kneel again in D.C., before a Reign match against the Washington Spirit. But the Spirit's owner, tech executive Bill Lynch, had the anthem played before the teams left their locker rooms.
Lynch then issued a statement saying he wouldn't let Rapinoe "hijack this tradition that means so much to millions of Americans."
"We decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such could would represent," the statement said. "We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise."
Rapinoe, who helped build the University of Portland Pilots into a powerhouse before winning a World Cup and an Olympic gold medal with U.S. Soccer, says she's kneeling in solidarity with Kaepernick because she's gay and wants to be an ally for oppressed people.
"It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it," Rapinoe told the website American Soccer Now.
After the Spirit moved their anthem last night, Rapinoe was more succinct. "It's fucking unbelievable," she said.