Social justice activist and world champion Megan Rapinoe has claimed she found the reaction when she first took the knee “bizarre” and confessed that she expected “immunity” from criticism for being a white woman.

The US women’s team captain Rapinoe admitted that she didn’t expect people back home to find her “more than irritating” when she first protested in 2016. She refused to stand up for the national anthem when she was participating in a women’s NBA game that featured her future fiancée Sue Bird.

The 2019 World Cup winner described her support for Colin Kaepernick, the NBA star who launched the gesture before a game the day before, as “outrage on Colin’s behalf” and as a “reflex reaction”.

“In the days after I kneeled, I realized I had called it wrong,” she wrote in a newly revealed excerpt from her upcoming book.

“There is a particular kind of baffled outrage reserved by whites for other whites who they believe are ‘betraying’ their race, and this week I have felt the full force of it.

“The criticism kept coming. I was told that I was abusing the freedom the US military fought for me, and that is not how freedom works.

“Hate mail poured into my agent’s office. People were demanding that I be fired from the team. My social media feeds were filled with abuse.”

Though the act of symbolism has now largely been adopted by top athletes and brands seeking to “break culture” and avoid bad PR, recalling how her early decisions to kneel down had been isolated, Rapinoe pounded on the answer that she received.

“Conservative commentators in the media immediately started yelling and shouting that kneeling during the anthem disregarded the military,” she said, arguing that the “damned military” was steeped in racism and suffered from a hypocritical lack of government funding.

“When I told journalists that I kneeled to draw attention to white supremacy and police brutality, many white people took it incredibly personally.

“I found this bizarre. It wasn’t their fault as individuals that slavery happened, but it was the responsibility of all of us to address it.

“I didn’t expect such an outrage. Whenever I campaigned for LGBTQ rights or equity payments, I was always welcomed.

“I knew racism was different – just look at what happened to the players in the WNBA who were fined individually and as a team by their league individually and as a team after holding their t-shirt protest in July. It was only after an audience outcry that the fines were suspended. “

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US President Donald Trump was one of the strongest critics of Kaepernick and Rapinoe. He condemned the knee injury and clashed with the feminist icon after she reacted angrily at the suggestion that the U.S. team attend a ceremony to celebrate her World Cup victory at the White House.

Rapinoe said critics like Trump used Kaepernick as “the embodiment of the racist stereotype of the aggressive black man,” citing 2016 figures that showed young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police.

“When I joined Colin’s protest, I knew that my whites and the whites of my sport in general are likely to offer some level of immunity,” said the ardent Black Lives Matter supporter.

“I was a woman too – loud, yes, but short, pale, and relatively unsophisticated in the eyes of many angry white men.

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“Even something like hair probably came into play. Colin’s hair, an afro, was much bigger than my hair and just took up more space with the rest of him.

The 35-year-old also claimed she was selected with the rest of her team ahead of a game at Washington Spirit.

“”[They] The pre-game schedule was changed so the anthem was played while we were still in the locker room, “she said.”[They] later accused me of hijacking the game. “

The excerpt is the latest example of the Ballon d’Or winner’s always clear opinion on how athletes should behave.

Last month, she reiterated her call to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to use their widely used platforms to advertise for the same purposes as them.

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