U.S. Women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe continued to defend her decision to kneel during the National Anthem.
Rapinoe, 34, sparked outrage across America when she protested during the National Anthem at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, according to a report published Wednesday by the New York Post. Rapinoe defended her decision saying she knew before she knelt that it would make people uncomfortable.
“I think that protest is not comfortable ever,” Rapinoe told Anderson Cooper on CNN. “It’s going to make people uncomfortable. It’s going to force people to look inwards and question everything they thought they knew. It’s not convenient. It doesn’t feel good really for anyone.”
Rapinoe claimed her decision to kneel wasn’t disrespectful to the flag, but told Cooper that the decision was difficult. (RELATED: Rapinoe Accepts Schumer’s Invitation, Won’t Visit White House)
“It was difficult and heavy, but I had this immense sense of pride and responsibility in doing that. I think that’s where the strength of doing it a number of times came from.”
Megan Rapinoe says kneeling during the National Anthem was difficult, but not disrespectful, adding that she is hopeful there will be a day when she will not feel the need to kneel https://t.co/FSUr8pSaqo pic.twitter.com/FQhsvifXDg
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 10, 2019
The U.S. Women’s National Team went on to secure its fourth World Cup win Sunday by defeating the Netherlands 2-0.
Rapinoe’s first time kneeling during the Anthem came in 2016 during a game against the Chicago Stars.
“It is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way,” Rapinoe wrote at the time. “When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of freedom – because I believe it is my responsibility just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.”