Los Angeles (AFP) – United States women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe spoke out in support of Colin Kaepernick after kneeling down for the national anthem in a gesture of solidarity with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback.

Rapinoe, 31, took to one knee on Sunday night for the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” before the Seattle Reign’s 2-2 draw against the Chicago Red Stars.

The veteran defender later confirmed that her action was a show of support for Kaepernick, decrying the “disgusting” vitriol heaped on the NFL star since he began his protest.

“It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t,” Rapinoe told the American Soccer Now website.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” added Rapinoe. 

“It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.

“It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this.”

Kaepernick has protested silently during the playing of the national anthem at 49ers pre-season games by refusing to stand.

Kaepernick has said his protest is a statement against racial injustice and police brutality.

The quarterbacks stance has angered many however, with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump among the critics, last week stating the player should move to another country.