“With great power comes great responsibility.”
Megan Rapinoe is the bravest entity fighting all out against discrimination of all kinds in the world of football. She is the co-captain of the United States Women National Team.
Read More: Jose Mourinho Tactical Mastermind
Who is Megan Rapinoe?
She plays as a winger and also captains OL Reign in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Winner of the Ballon d'Or Féminin and named The Best FIFA Women's Player in 2019, Rapinoe won gold with the national team at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. She was very vocal about her stance on racism, sexism, and any form of discrimination against humans and fellow Americans. She is unapologetically gay, unapologetically political, and, above all, unapologetically proud of herself and her teammates. She celebrates a goal with her chest out, arms thrown wide to milk the crowd, is considered to be one of the most iconic celebrations of all time. During the 2019 World Cup, she became a sensation and her decade-long battle with stereotypes got the attention of mainstream media again.
Rapinoe: an icon of fight against inequality
Rapinoe garnered national attention for kneeling during the national anthem at an international match in September 2016 in solidarity with NFL star Colin Kaepernick who often spoke up against police brutality and racial inequality in the united states.
Rapinoe has been involved in the women's team's equal pay complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since at least 2016. In March 2019 US Women's soccer team spearheaded by Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation accusing it of gender discrimination. They filled a lawsuit of $66 million in damages under the Equal Pay Act. But on May 4th, 2020 California judge threw out the players’ claims that they were underpaid in comparison with the men’s team. But she and co-captain Alex Morgan vows to continue their battle.
Rapinoe’s argument was valid. The Ballon d’Or winner stated-
“If I earn one dollar every the time I play and a man earns three dollars, just because I win ten games and he only wins three games - and so I make 10 dollars and he made nine dollars - I’m not sure how that’s me making more money,”
The US Men National Team and US Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden also extended their support to them.
“Don’t give up this fight. This is not over yet,” Biden wrote in a tweet
Locking horns with Donald Trump
Picking up a fight with the most powerful man in the world and her own president takes gut. Rapinoe has vocally
In the 2019 World Cup quarter-final against France, Alex Morgan joined Megan Rapinoe as both opted not to sing the national anthem. This form of Protest goes back to 2016. When she decided to join NFL star Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the anthem to protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the united states.
This sparked a controversy among the netizens. Many criticized her but the unequivocal stance on her decision earned her the attention she wanted to speak up against Discrimination.
During that time only an old video of her emerged to the surface. In the interview video, she asked about attending a meet-and-greet with the president if they managed to win the world cup. But Rapinoe, who is critical of her president Donald Trump for his various instances of casual racism and exclusion policies, didn’t hesitate for a second to take a jibe at the white house administration.
"not going to the f—ing White House", Rapinoe told Eight by Eight in the video when asked if she would be excited to go to the White House following the World Cup.
Donald Trump didn’t hesitate to reply back to that old video. He posted a thread to reply back in twitter
Donald J. Trump / @realDonaldTrump
2/3 ....in our Country’s history, and the poverty index is also best number EVER), leagues and teams love coming to the White House. I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job! We haven’t yet....
3/3 ....invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose. Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!
Well Rapinoe won the World Cup 2019. Rapinoe at the White House never happened.
Speaking up against decisions by the Administration
€75,000 (£65,000) fine given to Bulgaria by UEFA following evidence of racist abuse during the Euro 2020 qualifier with England. Rapinoe belives these are the instances when administrative bodies could set up examples for the generations to come. But they decided to pot for petty politics.
Bulgaria was also ordered to play two games behind closed doors - the second of which is suspended for two years - in a decision Rapinoe branded "an absolute joke".
Megan Rapinoe said she is inspired by Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly after the pair stood up to incidents of racism, as well as referencing other events that have highlighted the homophobia and inequalities that still exist within football.
"Some of the stories that have inspired me the most this year: Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, their incredible performances on the field but the way that they have taken on the disgusting racism that they have had to face this year, but probably throughout their whole lives," the 34-year-old said.
Capitalize on the platform you are given to make a change
Rapinoe won the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2019. She used the podium to speak up for her cause. Rapinoe in her speech urged those in attendance, as well as those watching on, to capitalize on the platform provided by the sport to make a difference for the future. Lionel Messi, the eventual winner for Men’s Ballon d’Or was also present in that ceremony where rapinoe asked the football world to stand up.
“Cristiano, Lionel, Zlatan, help me!”
Megan Rapinoe believes that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could be doing more to help combat racism, given their popularity around the world. The American, who has helped in terms of initiatives, such as UEFA's anti-racism campaigns, feels like they have not taken things further.
"They could do so much if they decided to use their stupendous level of popularity to fight racism, for example. I'm not talking about wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, I'm talking about going deeper.", Rapinoe told L'Equipe.
She also belives Kylian Mbappe, the next big global icon in football could do so much for the fight against Racism.
She said that- "a star who could carry on this message for the next generation is Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, who has already won a World Cup with France and has increased his appeal amongst younger people by appearing on the front cover of the new FIFA video game."
"I hope he understands the impact he can have, and how this influence can prove to be formidable for himself," Rapinoe continued.
"He came into the world with an extraordinary gift which allows him to lead an extraordinary, very comfortable life. Perhaps he can ask himself how to establish a balance, how to inspire youth.
"I hope he understands that he can change the world, that it is not just an empty idea. Sometimes you decide for yourself to change the world, sometimes it falls on you. If you want to be the king, then be the best king you can be."
Rapinoe is far ahead of Messi, Ronaldo, and Cristiano when it comes to activism and comments outside football.
Former Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has Muslim roots had once said he had faced Islamophobia. But Zlatan had sparked controversy in 2013 by saying women's national team can't compare themself with the men's team.
Similarly, Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of rape in Las Vegas in 2009. But the Portuguese captain is vocal about the need to counter racism and had posted a message on Instagram after Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly suffered racist abuse during a game against Internazionale. In many instances, Cristiano stood up against Racism. But Rapinoe still believes he could do more. Rapinoe did a commercial for Nike with CR7.
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has always been criticized for not making a statement ever on racism. Over the years he is not vocal about anything. Rapinoe wants the help of Leo his impact over billions of people.
We hope she continues her battle and be the unapologetic leader of USWNT.
Good Luck Megan Rapinoe!
Image source: Business Insider