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Debate Ignited by U.S. Women's Soccer Team's Silence During National Anthem

Majority of US women's soccer team remain silent during national anthem, sparking criticism.

The response of the majority of players on the U.S. women's soccer team (USWNT) to the national anthem during the ongoing World Cup has sparked controversy among some American fans. These fans criticized the players for not singing, although this behavior is not new.

During the recent game against Vietnam, which marked the American team's entry into the international competition, most U.S. players chose not to sing the national anthem. Instead, they stood in silence, with their fists behind their backs, as "The Star Spangled Banner" played.

Only five players stood and placed their hands over their hearts, while three sang along. Forward Megan Rapinoe, who had previously stated that she would not sing the national anthem again, was among those who remained silent. Rapinoe was the first player on the team to kneel during the anthem in 2016, following NFL player Colin Kaepernick's protest against racial injustice, and she was also the first white athlete to do so.

Despite the controversy surrounding their behavior during the national anthem, the American team, the two-time defending World Cup champion, achieved a resounding victory, defeating their rival team 3-0. However, some fans expressed their disappointment with the majority of the team's actions during the anthem.

One Twitter user wrote, "Call me crazy, but I'm telling my team that if you can't at least put your hand over your heart, you're not in the top 11. I don't care who it is. Show some respect." Another user said, "Yeah, too bad they all aren't proud to have hands-on hearts and sing. The Vietnam team was sure proud of theirs. Disappointing." Yet another tweet suggested that if the players continued to be "militant" about their stance, funding for the team should be discontinued.

Criticism of the players not singing the national anthem was accompanied by misogynistic comments, which unfortunately have become common in response to the growing popularity of women's soccer. Some individuals claimed that the team was bringing "shame" to the sport and referred to the players as "disgusting."

However, there were also voices of support for the players, highlighting the freedom they have to choose whether or not to sing or place their hands on their hearts. These individuals expressed gratitude for living in a country where such choices are not forced upon them.

It is worth noting that during last year's World Cup, the Iranian men's team also refused to sing their national anthem in solidarity with protests against the killing of Mahsa Amini. However, they later reversed their decision due to political pressure and fear of reprisal from government authorities.

This World Cup will be Rapinoe's final tournament, as she announced her retirement earlier this month. Reflecting on her decision, she expressed gratitude for being able to leave the sport on her own terms and in a manner that feels peaceful and settled for her.

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