NWSL player Rachel Hill says she refused to kneel in protest over her ‘military family’
A National Women’s Soccer League player explained why she refused to kneel next to teammates in protest of racism, citing her relatives in the military, but added that she supports the Black Lives Matter movement “ 100 percent. ”
Chicago Red Stars striker Rachel Hill stood alongside kneeling teammates Julie Ertz and Casey Short as they protested violently against racism on Saturday before the season opener.
Although Hill stood, she is seen with her hand on Short’s shoulder.
Chicago Red Stars striker Rachel Hill (far right) stood next to kneeling teammates Julie Ertz and Casey Short as they protested violently against racism on Saturday before the season opener. Although Hill stood, she is seen with her hand on Short’s shoulder
Hill is seen as her Chicago Red Stars teammates take a knee on Saturday
“I chose to stand because of what the flag inherently means to my military relatives and me, but I support my peers 100%,” 25-year-old Hill wrote in a social media statement.
“Symbolically, I tried to demonstrate this by placing my hand on Casey’s shoulder and bowing my head. I struggled, but felt these actions showed my truth, and in the end I wanted to remain true to myself.
“If this wasn’t clear, then let my words and further actions be. I wholeheartedly support the movement of black life matter. I also support and will contribute to the fight against current inequality. As a white athlete it has long been over for me to be diligently anti-racist. ‘
Short offered her own statement in support of Hill on social media.
“I, Casey, can only speak for myself, but the conversations I’ve had with players, especially Rachel, have been unashamedly authentic,” Short wrote. “I have to ask where my hopes lie. It is in my faith and those kinds of conversations that should have taken place long ago. The kind of conversations that are raw and uncomfortable that can lead to truly impactful change.
Julie Ertz, to the left of Red Stars, is holding Casey shortly after players kneeled in front of their team during the national anthem for an NWSL Challenge Cup football game against the Washington Spirit
Ertz and Short said loud talks of the past few weeks led to their vulnerability sharing an emotional embrace as they knelt during the national anthem as the NWSL opened the season in empty stadiums over the weekend
Ertz and Short said hard talks of the past few weeks led to their vulnerability sharing an emotional embrace as they knelt during the national anthem when the NWSL opened the season in empty stadiums over the weekend.
Sobbed briefly when she was being held by Ertz for Chicago’s game against the Washington Spirit on Saturday night, the second game of the National Women’s Soccer League tournament in Utah.
“Currently, every time the national anthem is played, our country is increasingly divided over what the visual symbol of unity looks like,” Short and Ertz said in a joint statement released Tuesday.
“Through our ongoing conversations, we wanted to make sure that whatever we decided to do would not be an empty gesture. It would be a stylized gesture that we have heard those who need to be heard, validated and loved.
“That moment during the national anthem was difficult, very difficult. We are still looking, but we are humiliated by the pouring out of aid. ‘
Hill posted a statement on social media, emphasizing that she supports her protesting teammates
Short was not made available for comment after the game, so the context of the moment was unknown. Teammate Rachel Hill, who stood during the national anthem and put a hand on Short’s shoulder, was also not made available for post-game commentary.
“The two of us have always intended to be our honest and true selves, but have struggled to find the” right “thing to show our truth. We understand that people are entitled to their opinion. Often these views are presented through the lens of the individual and do not accurately reflect how we really feel, ‘said Short and Ertz.
Hill posted a statement on Instagram on Tuesday evening saying the decision was not easily made.
“Before the game, I was completely devastated at what to do. I spoke to friends, family and teammates – of all races, religions and backgrounds – hoping for guidance, ”Hill wrote. “I chose to stand because of what the flag inherently means to my military relatives and me, but I support my peers 100 percent. Symbolically, I tried to show this by placing my hand on Casey’s shoulder and bowing my head. I struggled, but felt these actions showed my truth, and in the end I wanted to remain true to myself. ‘
Players for the Houston Dash take a knee before the national anthem ahead of their game against Utah Royals FC during the NWSL Challenge Cup at Zions Bank Stadium Tuesday
Players for the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage knelt down together during the national anthem Saturday when they opened the Challenge Cup tournament. A few players, including Hill, chose to stand because the national anthem was played before the late game between the Red Stars and Spirit.
While it is common for only starters to be on the field during the national anthem, the entire teams of the four teams that played on Tuesday took to the field before their games. Most, but not all, knelt.
Players and coaches have also worn Black Lives Matter T-shirts in pre-match warm-up, and players have also knelt during a moment of silence before kick-off.
The NWSL Players’ Association has released a statement in support of all players, regardless of their decision.
“The Players Association supports both making a clear statement that Black Lives Matter and each player make a personal decision about whether to stand or kneel during the national anthem,” the union said. “We ask our supporters and media to respect the right of every player to deal with these moments in the way they choose and to know that our players are united against racism and support each other.”
Utah Royals FC players take a knee before the national anthem ahead of their game against the Houston Dash during the NWSL Challenge Cup at Zions Bank Stadium Tuesday
After some players were criticized, the league announced on Monday that it would allow players to remain in the locker room during the national anthem.
The NWSL is behind every player, official and employee. Kneel on the field. Stand with your hand over your heart. Honor your feelings in the dressing room or midfield privacy, ”said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird in a statement announcing the policy change. “The NWSL is a competition built on diversity and courage and those principles will continue to stimulate us.”
The NWSL is the first professional team sports league in the United States to return during the coronavirus pandemic. The teams had gathered for training camps in March when the competition closed.
The tournament opener between the Thorns and Courage aired nationally on CBS, and the network announced on Tuesday that the game had an average of 572,000 viewers, a record for the NWSL.
Red Stars teammates Julie Ertz and Casey Short released a joint statement on the protest