CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Megan Rapinoe protested the national anthem in what was her final USWNT game.
According to Yahoo Sports, Rapinoe stopped singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games in 2016 as a “peaceful protest” against racial inequality and injustice in the U.S, inspired by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel before the National Anthem.
The anthem was preceded by a ceremony to honor Rapinoe in her final international game, as Team USA took on South Africa in Chicago’s Soldier Field.
The 38-year-old Rapinoe, surrounded by her family and fiancee, former WNBA star Sue Bird, was presented a framed jersey representing her 203 games with the United States, and she raised her arms as the crowd roared before the victory. The cheers didn’t seem to stop until she was finished addressing the crowd after the win and headed into the tunnel.
“It’s a really beautiful thing to look out and see little Black girls and little trans kids and boys with our jerseys on,” Rapinoe said. “I think that’s something that all of us are really proud of and all of us — especially in our generation — know the impact that we’ve made. And we know that it’s a lot different now than when we started.”
Rapinoe announced in July that she was retiring after an illustrious career that included a pair of World Cup championships as well as gold and bronze medals in the Olympics.
Rapinoe still has a few more regular-season games for the Reign, including a send-off match for local fans in Seattle on Oct. 6, before her career comes to an end.
She entered her final match for the United States with 63 goals, including two directly from corner kicks at the Olympics. At the 2019 World Cup in France, she scored six goals and took home the Golden Ball as top player.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.