US soccer star Kaiya McCullough welcomes U-turn on taking the knee

McCullough, right, took a knee while playing for UCLA in 2017
McCullough, right, took a knee while playing for UCLA in 2017 - (Copyright SIPA USA/PA Images)
14:13pm, Wed 17 Jun 2020
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Washington Spirit player Kaiya McCullough has welcomed US Soccer’s reversal on its ‘horrible’ ban on players taking a knee during the national anthem.

McCullough took a knee in 2017 while playing for the University of California, Los Angeles. She was inspired by National Football League’s Colin Kaepernick and US soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who both protested in 2016 against racial inequality.

She told The Telegraph: “I think it was a very, for lack of a better word, a horrible rule to begin with.

 “I think it was directly contrary to what Kaepernick and Rapinoe were trying to accomplish with their protests, and I think silencing that had some very seriously questionable motives. 

"I’m definitely glad that they repealed that rule because being an athlete, you have a responsibility to speak up about things because of the platform you’re given. For them to take that away from athletes I think, really, was just unacceptable.” 

And while she said she was scared to take a knee three years ago, she did so to take a stand.

She added: "I think just seeing the impact of what Colin Kaepernick was doing really gave me the push I needed to. I was scared, because I wasn’t really sure how people would react. 

"But I think overwhelmingly I was proud. I just felt an overwhelming sense of relief that I was finally able to express what I was really feeling through my sport.”

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