(CNS News) -- Rachel Hill, a National Women’s Soccer League player who went viral for standing for the National Anthem while the rest of her team kneeled, has released a statement detailing why she chose to stand.
Hill stood for the anthem during a Chicago Red Star’s soccer game and the photo quickly went viral. It was reposted and retweeted by scores of people who praised the young woman for her actions.
Graham Allen, a Turning Point USA contributor and host of Dear America podcast, posted the photo of Hill on his Instagram with the caption, “Real heroes STAND they do not kneel.”
Lawyer and journalist Rogan O’Handley tweeted a photo of the soccer player saying, “In a world that kneels to a violent mob, stand for what’s right.”
Tomi Lahren, host of Fox Nation also Tweeted the photo saying, “Never bow or kneel to the mob. Good for you, girl.”
Despite the overwhelming support for Hill, not everyone was a supporter of her choice to stand. Many people on Twitter called her out for her so-called “white privilege” or her lack of empathy for the black community.
Some critics on Twitter said they hated her. One Twitter user said, “I literally can’t imagine. STANDING THERE. Next to your black teammate. Who is KNEELING AND IN PAIN AND BEING COMFORTED BY A FRIEND. Because you think a piece of fabric deserves more respect than human lives.”
Another user commented, “Shameful to abandon your teammate in such an empathetic way.”
On July 2, Rachel Hill posted a statement on her personal Instagram. She first emphasized that injustices against the black community are "unacceptable." The "racism, prejudice, and social justice -- it must change," she wrote.
She then defended her decision to stand while everyone else kneeled, saying that she decided to stay true to herself; she stood because of what the flag means to her and the military members of her family.
“When I stood for the national anthem before the Chicago Red Stars’ most recent game, this was a decision that did not come easily or without profound thought,” she said. “Before the game, I was completely torn on what to do.”
“I spoke with friends, family, and teammates -- of all races, religions and backgrounds -- with the hope of guidance,” Hill said. “I chose to stand because of what the flag inherently means to my military family members and me, but I 100% supports my peers….”
“I struggled, but felt that these actions showed my truth and in the end I wanted to remain true to myself,” she said.
Hill continued, “I do the best I can each day to show love and respect towards every human being. Through my faith I’ve been taught that love always works, and the command I follow is to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Galatians 5:14. I pray for the recognition of the dignity and worth of all people. In this moment the black community needs us. I am ready to help with meaningful action that leads to everlasting change."
Hill’s teammates Casey Short and Julie Ertz also released a joint statement. Short showed her support for Hill’s decision by saying, “I, Casey, can only speak for myself but the conversations I have had with players, specifically Rachel, have been unapologetically authentic.”