(Reuters) - Megan Rapinoe said on Monday she will respect a new U.S. Soccer Federation policy requiring national team players to stand during the playing of the U.S. national anthem rather than kneel as a sign of protest.
Rapinoe, who played on the U.S. team that won the 2015 Women’s World Cup and won gold at the 2012 Olympics, protested social inequality by kneeling during the national anthem ahead of two games last year.
U.S. Soccer revealed on Saturday that its board of directors passed a policy that required players representing the national team to “stand respectfully” during national anthems.
“It is an honour to represent the USA and all that we stand for -- to be able to pull on the red, white and blue to play a game that I love,” Rapinoe, 31, said in a statement.
“I will respect the new bylaw the leadership at USSF has put forward. That said, I believe we should always value the use of our voice and platform to fight for equality of every kind.”
Protests during the U.S. national anthem have been a hot-button issue since last August, starting with the decision by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing.
Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and many athletes from other sports followed his lead in various ways, including linking arms during the anthem.
Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Larry Fine