The NWSL's 2020 Challenge Cup started over weekend with many players showing support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Many players chose to kneel during the national anthem as a sign of solidarity with the movement.
Chicago Red Stars teammates Casey Short and Julie Ertz shared an emotional moment while taking a knee Saturday night. They released a joint statement on Tuesday, explaining their feelings about the moment while saying, "we want to find our place in the cure together."
While a majority of the Red Stars team took a knee, forward Rachel Hill was among the players who stood during the national anthem. Hill did so next to Short, and placed her hand on Short's shoulder on Saturday night.
Hill, who stood again during the anthem Wednesday in Chicago's second game of the tournament, explained her decision in an Instagram post. Hill, 25, said her decision "did not come easily or without profound thought." Hill stated that she supports the messages of the protests, but pointed to military members in her family as the reason that she chose not to kneel.
"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," Hill said in her post. "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."
Here is Hill's full post:
Ertz and Short also addressed a conversation they had with Hill in their statement.
"I, Casey, can only speak for myself but the conversations I have had with players, specifically Rachel, have been unapologetically authentic," Short said in her joint statement with Ertz. "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."
After many players took a knee during the national anthem, the NSWL released a statement in which the league expressed how "proud" it was of its players. In addition, the league announced that it as revising a policy for the national anthem throughout the 2020 Challenge Cup. Players now have the option of remaining in the locker room during the national anthem if they choose.