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Spirit reschedule anthem to prevent Rapinoe from kneeling for it

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Team claims to want to avoid 'taking focus away' from the match by doing something that does exactly that.

Moments before the Seattle Reign were set to take on the Washington Spirit an email went out from the Washington Spirit to the media.

"Statement Regarding Washington Spirit Ownership Decision to Play the National Anthem Ahead of Schedule Tonight", was the ominous headline.

Last week against the Chicago Red StarsRapinoe took a knee while the national anthem played. Earlier this week the Seattle Reign released a statement with their intention to, "continue to support", Rapinoe.

The email from the Washington owner opens, "In light of Seattle Reign and U.S. Women’s National Team member Megan Rapinoe’s public declaration that she intended to "take a knee" during the United States’ National Anthem tonight, we decided to play the anthem in our stadium ahead of schedule rather than subject our fans and friends to the disrespect we feel such an act would represent."

As the email went on the Washington Spirit ownership called Rapinoe drawing attention by taking a knee "worthy" they also thought of it as "hijacking our organization’s event".

The full statement can be read below.