US women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe refused to sing the American national anthem at the start of a match on Sunday night, instead choosing to kneel silently, according to ABC News
Her protest echoes that of American footballer Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to since the national anthem at the start of a number of football matches, to protest the unequal treatment of non-white minorities throughout the US.
"Being a gay American," Rapinoe, who plays for Seattle Reign FC, said, "I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.
"It's important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this."
The Seattle Reign FC player, who revealed during the Rio Olympic Games last month
that she and fellow teammates had been subjected to homophobic slurs from the crowds, added: "It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now.
"I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t.
"We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country".
Kaepernick, who plays quarterback for the San Francisco '49ers has been heavily criticised for his ongoing silent protests, with Santa Clara Police Department even threatening to boycott his team's matches.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media when his protests begun in August.
"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Rapinoe is the first non-black athlete to join in the recent wave of protests of the national anthem. She won a Gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, and was part of the victorious US team that won the 2015 women's World Cup.
"We are not saying we are not one the greatest countries in world," she explained. "Just need to accept that not perfect, things are broken. 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 said she would continue her protest at games going forward.
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