Players for the Portland Thorns and the North Carolina Courage knelt during the national anthem Saturday when the National Women’s Soccer League opened the Challenge Cup tournament in Utah.
The players could be seen rocking Black Lives Matter T-shirts in warm-ups just before the game. In addition to the anthem, the players knelt for a moment of silence before kickoff.
United States women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe knows what it’s like to kneel for the anthem as she became of the first athletes to do so after Colin Kaepernick kicked off protests in 2016.
Rapinoe reacted to the NSWL players’ move on Twitter.
“You love to see it. You love to see these women using their voice, demanding better for America, and for black people and people of color,” Rapinoe tweeted.
“We took a knee today to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic racism against black people and people of color in America. We love our country and we have taken this opportunity to hold it to a higher standard. It is our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms this nation was founded upon are extended to everyone,” the Thorns and Courage said in a joint statement released before the game.
The Courage won the game, 2-1.