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Megan Rapinoe Kneels During Anthem As ‘Nod To Kaepernick’



More athletes are starting to take notice of social injustices and following suit to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The latest is U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who knelt during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before her Seattle Reign faced the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday.

After a 2-2 draw, Rapinoe told John Halloran of American Soccer Now that her kneeling was “a nod to Kaepernick.”

The two-time Olympian didn’t hold back her thoughts in a separate interview with ESPN W’s Julie Foudy:

“I am disgusted with the way he has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this,” Rapinoe said of the media response to Kaepernick.

“It is overtly racist. ‘Stay in your place black man.’ Just didn’t feel right to me. And quite honestly being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I haven’t had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling.”

Rapinoe is the first non-black athlete to publicly support Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem.

Since coming out after the 2012 Olympics, Rapinoe has been an advocate for LGBT rights and has worked closely with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as well as other organizations.

Kaepernick initially sat during the playing of the anthem in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Aug. 26 and was swamped by media afterward.

The quarterback continued his protest of social injustice Thursday in a game against the San Diego Chargers, where he knelt during the anthem after having a conversation with Nate Boyer — an Army Green Beret and former standout football player who suggested the motion.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat down in a separate game and teammate Eric Reid joined Kaepernick kneeling during Thursday’s playing of the anthem.

Rapinoe said she will continue to kneel in every match she plays from this game forward.

“The very least that I can do is continue the conversation with him by kneeling for the anthem,” she said.

“(We) need a more substantive conversation around race relations and the way people of color (are) treated. It needs to be everyone confronting problems in our country, not just people of color.”

The 31-year-old University of Portland product seems to have gained herself some fans.

Rapinoe is no stranger to standing up for her beliefs, as she joined her teammates Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn in filing a claim against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wage discrimination early this year.

The claim stated that players in the U.S. women’s soccer team were underpaid in some cases up to four times less than their male national team counterparts.

The Seattle midfielder has done what many athletes in the modern era are shying away from — taking a stand for what they believe in.

While the fear of media backlash and criticism over social media often keeps athletes from voicing their opinions about politics and social issues — Rapinoe is unapologetically leading the charge in the NWSL.

“One player asked why I did it,” said Rapinoe. “I said for Colin Kaepernick. She said ‘Good for you.’ Otherwise no reaction from team.”

Kaepernick’s and Rapinoe’s actions are just the start of a possible series of athletes using their platform to raise awareness over the recent injustices and social issues that plague the country.


Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.

Bruno Manrique is a sportswriter from San Francisco, California and has worked for Bleacher Report, Dime Magazine, AOL's and the San Francisco Examiner. Witty commentary and a deadshot eye for detail are some of his best traits when it comes to writing.You can follow Bruno on Twitter: @thesportslede


Juventus Fans Arrested After Clash with Police



Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash between Juventus and Ajax has already been marred by violence and controversy, before the teams even took to the pitch.

According to Ansa, citing a report from De Telegraaf, dozens of fans were reportedly arrested in Amsterdam in the hours leading up to the game.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (h/t Football Italia) took to Facebook live video to state that “around 120” fans had been arrested.

Per the report from De Telegraaf, fans near the Johan Cruyff Arena were “in possession of knives, clubs, pepper spray and flares.” Also, dozens of Ajax supporters were reported to have clashed with riot police in separate incidents outside the stadium and were eventually dispersed with the use of tear gas and water cannons.

The Mirror posted the following images on their Twitter page:

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Man City forward Raheem Sterling Looking to Combat Racism on the Pitch



Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who spoke out last month after being subjected to taunts during England’s game in Montenegro, is looking to take his fight against racism to the pitch, saying he would rather stay on the field than let racism force him to walk off of the pitch during a match.

Sterling’s manager Pep Guardiola, stated that he would support players walking off in protest if it happened again, in a strong statement that racism is simply not acceptable.

“I think everyone are entitled to their own opinions. My mum has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and I am,” Sterling said, according to the Manchester Evening News.

“I wouldn’t personally agree with [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more they’re only trying to get you down. If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.

“Everyone’s different. Everyone has their own opinion, how they deal with things emotionally and you have to support everyone.”

Sterling opened up about the racism he has faced in his life, discussing when he first expereinced racism when he moved from North London up to the north-west back in 2010.

“I don’t think trying to make a difference or making a difference, it’s about speaking what you experience. Some people might shy away from it, if more players speak up that might be better.

“It’s offensive but growing up my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this. When I hear it, it’s nothing new. I’m happy with it. I’m confident, I’m black and I’m proud. Some people can’t take it but my mum has always told me to love who I am.

“The first time I experienced racism is when I went up north to Liverpool – in London in schools and on a day-to-day basis you’re surrounded by a diverse community. Only a few occasions growing up in the academy in Liverpool, and then mainly in the last couple of years of being a professional.”



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Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player



27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.

Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.

Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.

Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.

“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”

“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.

“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”

“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.

“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.

“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.

“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.

“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.

“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”

Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.

“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.

“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.

“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.

“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.

“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”


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