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Alexi Lalas made two tweets about the national anthem, deleted them, and then put out a 3:30am apology for his troubles. That is quite a day.
The story starts at the NWSL Challenge Cup kick-off — the National Women’s Soccer League, to save you the Googling — during which, both the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage kneeled to protest racial injustice during the anthem.
Lalas took to social media with a since-deleted Tweet: “Now it takes courage to actually stand for the national anthem.”
The Tweet was met with the normal barrage of outrage to which Lalas did not initially recant the seemingly appropriate idea. He, in fact, doubled down on his initial stance after a commenter on the thread said they still stand for the anthem, knowing they are being judged by those kneeling.
“That’s actually the whole point. Before game today, standing for the anthem was not the norm. Almost every single player knelt during the anthem in solidarity. Those kneeling during the anthem were not taking the brunt of hate.”
In a joint statement the two clubs said that they did so with love for America, but also to push forward change.
“We took a knee today to protest racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism against Black people and people of color in America,” the teams released. “We love our country and we have taken this opportunity to hold it to a higher standard. It is our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms that this nation was founded upon are extended to everyone.”
It seemed as though everything had died down, until Lalas did an about face — at 3:40 in the morning — with an apology.
I wrote a few more words about today… pic.twitter.com/1jDGXEEK33— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) June 28, 2020
Lalas has been a vocal supporter for the anthem in the past, including speaking out in favor of the U.S National Team rule for standing during the anthem in 2017.