Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch forcefully responded to Megan Rapinoe calling him "homophobic" after Wednesday night's game in an interview with the Washington Post's Steven Goff. On Wednesday, Lynch decided to play the anthem with both teams in the locker rooms rather than have Rapinoe kneel during the anthem. After the game, Rapinoe was asked if she thought homophobia played a part in the decision to play the national anthem with no players on the field.
"I do. Yes, I do," Rapinoe said. "I've had conversations with Spirit players both current and past. The fact that they don't have a Pride night and they have gay players on their team as well as everything else, they've made it pretty clear at least internally that that's not something they're interested in, which is homophobic to me. I don't know if that was directed at me because I'm gay, and that's a protest I'm making as a gay woman, that's a bit of a stretch. But yeah, I do think Bill Lynch is homophobic."
"We’re absolutely inclusive," Lynch told Goff. "Anyone claiming we’re not inclusive, it’s silly. [Sexuality] is not even something that gets discussed. We don’t make decisions based on race, gender or sexual preference. Unless someone is talking about it, I have no idea what their sexual preference is." Lynch also said that Rapinoe "probably got lost in the moment and blurted something out."
Lynch told Goff he made a decision early on to "not promote any individual causes" in order to "focus on women's soccer and the game."
On Thursday, the Spirit released a statement on the anthem decision saying, "We respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal - albeit worthy - cause." Rapinoe told media after the game that she found the use of the word "hijacking" to be "incredibly distasteful."