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NFL players are no longer the only professional athletes to silently protest during the national anthem.On Sunday night, womens soccer player Megan Rapinoe followed the example of?San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick by taking a knee during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner before her Seattle Reign played the Chicago Red Stars in an NWSL game.I am disgusted with way he has been treated and the fans and hatred he has received in all of this, Rapione told espnWs Julie Foudy. It is overtly racist. Stay in your place black man. Just didnt feel right to me. Need a more substantive conversation around race relations, & the way people of color treated.Rapinoe added: We are not saying we are not one the greatest countries in world. Just need to accept that [it is] not perfect, things are broken. And quite honestly being gay, I have stood with my hand over my heart during the national anthem and felt like I havent had my liberties protected, so I can absolutely sympathize with that feeling.Rapinoe said she will continue to kneel in every match going forward.The very least that I can do is continue the conversation with him by kneeling for the anthem, she said.?Rapinoe, a World Cup and gold-medal winner with the U.S. womens national team, becomes the first nonblack professional player to join in protesting during the national anthem since Kaepernick gained notoriety for sitting out the anthem in 49ers preseason games.After sitting during the playing of the anthem during preseason games, Kaepernick elected to kneel during the anthem for the teams final preseason game on Thursday and was joined by teammate Eric Reid.In a separate game, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane also elected to sit down during the playing of the national anthem.Though he has received backlash for his protest, Kaepernick has said its not his intention to denigrate police, military or the country, but rather serves as his way of bringing attention to what he sees are failings in the United States treatment of racial minorities. 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At a Manhattan federal court hearing, attorney Jordan Siev said his law office has gotten more evidence nearly every day to support its lawsuit accusing MLB and Selig of going on a "witch hunt" to ruin Rodriguezs reputation and career. He said the defendants went "way over the line. EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Just over a month after being held to single digits by an FCS team, Northwestern has solved a lot of problems offensively.Justin Jackson rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and the Wildcats moved the ball almost at will after a slow start, beating Michigan State 54-40 on Saturday night to hand the Spartans their fourth straight defeat.Clayton Thorson threw for 281 yards and three TDs for the Wildcats, who rallied from an early 14-0 deficit. Michigan State (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) is now mired in its longest losing streak in coach Mark Dantonios 10 seasons at the helm.Northwestern has won three of four since starting the season with losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State. The Wildcats managed only seven points against Illinois State, but that seems like a long time ago now that theyve scored 38 against Iowa and 54 on the defending Big Ten champions.Our guys have really been grinding, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. Earlier in the year we werent a very good team. ... We could either pout and feel sorry for ourselves and start to point fingers, or we could just stay on the grind and keep the pedal down.The Spartans hadnt lost four in a row since 2006, and this was the most points theyd allowed since a 56-21 loss to Wisconsin in 2003.Northwestern held Michigan State to 3 yards of offense in the second quarter.Theres no easy fix, Dantonio said.The Spartans made a change at quarterback for this game, starting redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke instead of Tyler OConnor, but Michigan States problems extend well beyond one position.The Spartans went back to OConnor in the third quarter, and he threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, but Michigan State couldnt stop Northwestern (3-3, 2-1) with any consistency.Solomon Vault returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter to put the Wildcats up 40-31, and the Spartans never made it closer after that.Michigan State is off to its worst start after six games since 1994, when the Spartans were 2-4 and later forfeited away the wins.TAKEAWAYSNorthwestern: The Wildcats have to be encouraged by the ease with which they shrugged off an early deficit Saturday, and although the secondary was beaten for a couple long touchdowns in the second half, Northwestern will win itts share of games if it can keep creating big holes for Jackson.ddddddddddddIt was a good one today, but I think were just showing what we can do, Thorson said. Passing the ball, running the ball, everything.Michigan State: Dantonio shook things up by starting Lewerke at quarterback, then watched his defense give up so many yards and points it didnt really matter who was throwing passes for Michigan State. The Spartans were a mess on defense and still dont block well enough on offense to put together many sustained drives.Its almost like everybodys at a loss for words, OConnor said. We feel like weve been saying everything that we think we need to fix and working as hard as we can to fix it, and everybody understands that we need to get better.OConnor did do his best to reclaim the quarterback spot with his work late in the game.NEW FACELewerke had attempted only four passes this season before becoming the first Michigan State freshman to start at quarterback since Stephen Reaves in 2004. Lewerke opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price in the first quarter, but the offense bogged down again in the second.Dantonio was noncommittal about his quarterback situation afterward.I thought both guys obviously did some good things, and both guys obviously did some things theyd like to have back, Dantonio said. So well look at it and evaluate it.TOUGH STARTMichigan State took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Justin Layne scored on a 43-yard interception return. That was the last touchdown the Spartans scored for a while.We knew that they were going to try and knock us out early. Their backs are against the wall, Fitzgerald said. We basically got what we expected, and it was disappointing with our start, but I really loved the way our guys responded. We didnt flinch.UP NEXTNorthwestern: The Wildcats host Indiana next weekend.Michigan State: The Spartans play at Maryland on Saturday night. If you dont count games forfeited from 1994, the last time Michigan State lost five games in a row within one season was when the Spartans dropped their first five in 1991.---Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister ' ' '