Last week The Free Press asked a readers survey question: “If you were part of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, would you visit White House?” A majority answered yes. Some answered no, which is their prerogative. But were the vile hateful comments about our duly elected president, e.g. Anti-Christ, corrupt pedophile, orange idiot etc., necessary? But I digress.

Although not a big soccer fan, I watched, on TV, the women represent our country at the World Cup. They played outstanding on the pitch and won the championship!

I was disappointed, however, that one member of our women’s team — a captain I believe — refused to fully participate with the team in our national anthem prior to games. She took a knee; refused to place her hand over her heart; sing the lyrics. Peculiar when compared with our men’s team, and players on other country’s men’s and women’s teams when their national anthem was played.

One rationalization given was she was protesting President Trump. More than sophomoric, I think. The Star Spangled Banner is not about any individual. Listen to the words. Imagine the absurdity of a high school athlete refusing to stand for the school song to protest the principal.

Participants selected to represent our country at international sporting competition should not use it as a platform to make political statements. At the game be apolitical. Just play the game. That’s why we watch. By the way, viewership for the women’s championship game was down 43% this year. Wonder why?

These women’s significant soccer skills combined with decent measured noncontroversial leadership should increase viewership popularity, thereby adding revenue to their sport enhancing their quest for equal pay.

Bob Jentges

North Mankato

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