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Former U.S. soccer star Solo says Megan Rapinoe would 'almost bully' players to kneel during anthem

Solo, who played on the team until 2016, called the act of kneeling during the anthem "very divisive"

Updated: August 17, 2021 - 9:01am

Former U.S. women's national soccer team player Hope Solo says she witnessed teammate Megan Rapinoe "almost bully" fellow players into kneeling during the national anthem.

"I've seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way, but it's our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we're comfortable with," Solo said last week on the "All of US: The U.S. Women's Soccer Show."

Athletes kneel during the anthem to protest against police brutality and other social injustices. 

Solo, a former goalie for the team, called the act of kneeling as the anthem plays "very divisive."

She also said athletes under pressure to publicly make and take political stances.

"There's a lot of pressure, and ultimately at the end of the day, our number one focus should and has always been to win first," she said, adding that it's a relief when "there's no national anthem right before the game ... Because that's very tough, it's tough."

During the Tokyo Olympic games earlier this month, U.S. women's soccer player Carli Lloyd surprised onlookers when she appeared to be the only player on the team to stand for the anthem prior to the team's final game against Australia. The team underperformed during the Tokyo games, though ultimately walked away with a bronze medal

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