NWSL won't punish Megan Rapinoe, owner Bill Lynch over anthem row

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Friday, September 23, 2016

The National Women's Soccer League declined to fine or sanction Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch for playing the national anthem while players were still in the locker room before a Sept. 7 match against the Reign, denying Seattle player Megan Rapinoe's plan to kneel in protest.

The league also decided not to take action against Rapinoe, who accused Lynch of being homophobic.

"We have spoken with all parties involved regarding these matters and determined not to issue any fines," NWSL spokesman Patrick Donnelly said Thursday, according to The Washington Post. "The league has taken this opportunity to reinforce our expectations that all NWSL policies and protocol are followed by everyone who represents the league."

Rapinoe made the accusation against Lynch after the match, saying her being gay played a part in the decision. Three days earlier, Rapinoe knelt during the anthem before the Reign's match at Chicago.

In a match on Sept. 11, also against the Spirit, Rapinoe and her teammates locked arms during the national anthem, but no one knelt. Rapinoe did kneel in U.S. national team matches in Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta last week.