The former captain of America’s women’s soccer team refused to sing the national anthem during her final game. Megan Rapinoe was severely criticized during the Women’s World Cup for declining to participate in patriotic symbolism before match-ups. Rapinoe, a native of California, was one of the first American athletes to kneel during the national anthem, saying she did so in solidarity with millionaire football star Colin Kaepernick, who complains of racial oppression in the United States.
In 2019, the star, who says she has suffered oppression as a gay American, announced that she would never sing the national anthem again. She described herself then as a “walking protest” against the Trump administration. However, Rapinoe conceded to new rules requiring players to stand for the national anthem in 2017.
During the Women’s World Cup, she attracted the anger of influential figures, including President Trump. When the United States crashed out of the World Cup, losing to Sweden in a penalty shoot-out during which Rapinoe knocked her shot over the bar, Trump took to social media to describe the loss as “emblematic of what is happening to our once great nation under crooked Joe Biden.” Trump was disgusted that several US players followed Rapinoe’s lead and refused to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.
When news of her refusal to display patriotism in her final game was posted on Twitter, condemnation of Rapinoe was almost universal. Several Twitter users questioned her right to be on the American team, with some pointing to a lack of gratitude and appreciation for the freedoms she enjoys in the US. One poster described her as a “spoiled brat who’s so ignorant she doesn’t understand she wouldn’t be able to be this obnoxious in many countries,” while another wrote, “Maybe now she’s retired she can move to Iran and find happiness.”
Another Twitter user concluded, “She makes big money on the USA women’s soccer team and disrespects the country that she’s playing for.”