01 July 2020

Why I stood as my team-mates took a knee, by Chicago Red Stars’ Rachel Hill

Chicago Red Stars forward Rachel Hill has spoken about why she remained standing during the national anthem while team-mate Casey Short emotionally knelt next to her.

Hill was pictured alongside Short and Julie Ertz who were embracing as the anthem played before their National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup match against Washington Spirit on Saturday.

Hill said the decision to not take a knee ‘did not come easy’ and she spoke to friends, family and her team-mates about it. And while she stood, she stresses she ‘100 per cent’ supports her team-mates.

In a statement posted to social media, she said: "I chose to stand because of what the flag inherently means to my military family members and me, but I 100 percent support my peers. 

"Symbolically, I tried to show this with the placement of my hand on Casey’s shoulder and bowing my head. I struggled, but felt that these actions showed my truth, and in the end I wanted to remain true to myself. 

“If this wasn’t clear, let my words and further actions be. I support the black lives matter movement wholeheartedly. I also support and will do my part in fighting against the current inequality. As a white athlete, it is way past due for me to be diligently anti-racist.”

And Short herself posted a statement with Ertz about the situation. She highlighted she had ‘authentic’ conversations with her team-mates, and Hill specifically, about the decision to take a knee.

Part of Short’s statement read: "I, Casey, can only speak for myself but the conversations I have had with players, specifically Rachel, have been unapologetically authentic.

“I have to ask where my hope lies. It lies in my faith and those types of conversations that have been long overdue. The types of conversations that are raw and uncomfortable, that can lead to real impactful change.”

The league itself has given players the freedom to stand or kneel during the anthem. 

The majority of staff and players involved in the four Challenge Cup matches played so far have opted to take a knee. 

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