Lone Women’s Soccer Player Who Stood For National Anthem Responds To Critics

This past weekend, the entire roster of two National Women’s Soccer League teams kneeled for the National Anthem. Only one, Rachel Hill, stood for the “Star-Spangled Banner” while embracing the teammates at her side.

In a statement on Tuesday, Rachel Hill, player for the Chicago Red Stars, explained that her decision to stand for the National Anthem stemmed from her solidarity with her military family, while asserting that she supports the cause for racial justice.

“What the black community goes through on a daily basis in this country is unacceptable. The pain. The hurt. Facing racism, prejudice, and social injustice. It must change,” she began in her statement posted to Twitter. “When I stood for the national anthem before the Chicago Red Stars most recent game, this was a decision that did not come easily or without profound thought. Before the game, I was completely torn on what to do. I spoke with friends, family, and teammates of all races, religions, and backgrounds with the hope of guidance.”

“I chose to stand because of what the flag inherently means to my military family members and me, but I 100% percent support my peers,” she continued. “Symbolically, I tried to show this with the placement of my hand on Casey’s shoulder and bowing my head. I struggled, but felt that these actions showed my truth, and in the end I wanted to remain true to myself. If this wasn’t clear, let my words and further actions be. I support the Black Lives Matter movement wholeheartedly. I also support and will do my part in fighting against the current inequality. As a white athlete, it is way past due for me to be diligently anti-racist.”

Hill said that she has since been having deep conversations with people of all races and religions to better understand the situation.

“Both before and after the game, I’ve had genuine conversations with many of my teammates, Kassy, Julia, and Sarah specifically, who are voices I believe need to be amplified, as well as friends and family,” she said. “Opinions have been shared, knowledge gained, tears shed, and support shown. I will continue to learn and grow through each of these valuable conversations, with the hope of creating change to someday reach equality.”

Hill finished with a quote from Galatians 5:14, and a call for people to see the dignity in all human beings.

“I do the best I can each day to show love and respect towards every human being. Through my faith I’ve been taught that love always works, and the command I follow is to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ Galatians 5:14,” she concluded. “I pray for the recognition of the dignity and worth of all people. In this moment the black community needs us. I am ready to help with meaningful action that leads to everlasting change. Do I have all the answers to this? No. But we must start somewhere, and that’s my intent.”

In a statement also released on Twitter, Rachel Hill’s teammates Casey Short and Julie Ertz expressed appreciation for her willingness to have conversations.

“I, Casey, can only speak for myself, but the conversations I have had with players, specifically Rachel, have been unapologetically authentic. I have to ask where my hope lies. It lies in my faith and those types of conversations that have been long overdue. The types of conversations that are raw and uncomfortable, that can lead to real impactful change,” Short said.

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