USA women spark controversy AGAIN as six players stay SILENT during Star Spangled Banner before last 16 World Cup clash against Sweden
- Members of USWNT chose not to sing the national anthem before Sweden clash
- But several members of the team did sing along prior to their round of 16 fixture
- Players’ decisions to remain silent in previous games had attracted controversy
Members of the United States Women’s Soccer Team have again remained silent while the Star Spangled Banner played prior to their World Cup clash with Sweden.
While five members of the team sung along as the anthem played prior to the round of 16 tie at the AAMI Park, six, including Naomi Girma and Crystal Dunn, elected not to.
In previous Women’s World Cup group ties against Vietnam, The Netherlands and Portugal, the majority of Vlatko Andonovski’s side have not sung along to the national anthem.
Prior to their goalless draw with Portugal, the majority of the side stood motionless as the anthem played out, with only captain Lindsey Horan, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher and Julie Ertz putting their hands on their hearts.
The decision led to criticism from American media personality Megyn Kelly, who blamed Megan Rapinoe for the decision, despite the 38-year-old not being included in the starting XI for the clash.
Some members of the USWNT did not sing along to the National Anthem prior to their World Cup clash with Sweden
Naomi Girma was one of the players not to put her hand on her chest as the Star Spangled banner played
Decision continues the trend from previous games as members of Vlatko Andonovski’s side elected not to sing along to the anthem
‘Megan Rapinoe, she’s the leader of all this… She’s not a starter. So that’s why she’s not on camera when they’re doing the national anthem, but she’s behind a lot of this,’ Kelly said while hosting the Megyn Kelly Show.
‘She’s poisoned the entire team against the country for which they play. I don’t know about you, but I’m not rooting for them. I’m not with them. I hope they lose…It’s shameful. These girls are shameful. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.’
Ballon d’Or Féminin winner Rapinoe has long been known for her political advocacy, having campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights and supported Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem to protest against racial injustice in the US.
Rapinoe, now playing in her final World Cup, said in 2019 that she would ‘never put my hand over my heart’ and ‘never sing the national anthem again.’
The USWNT entered the clash with Sweden looking to rebound from a disappointing group stage performance from the four-time World Cup winners.
Victory over Vietnam in their tournament opener was followed by back-to-back draws with the Netherlands and Portugal, allowing them to narrowly progress to the knockout stages.