American soccer player and political activist Megan Rapinoe has shown time and time again that she cares more about broadcasting her divisive opinions than she does about representing the United States. One former teammate is now alleging Rapinoe’s political posturing also came at the expense of her teammates.
In an interview with the soccer website Goal.com, former U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo said that Rapinoe was not content to simply disrespect the American flag on her own. Instead, she attempted to force her fellow athletes to join her.
“I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way,” Solo said.
Solo played on the national team from 2000 to 2016. Rapinoe has been on the team since 2006.
Solo said she sees kneeling during the anthem as “very divisive,” a statement that is substantiated by polling data.
According to a July 2020 poll from CBS News, while 88 percent of Democrats found kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” acceptable, only 23 percent of Republicans found it acceptable. A stark partisan divide clearly exists in the perception of the kneeling issue.
Of course, an added factor in the case of Rapinoe is that she is supposed to be representing the country on a national team.
While it is one thing for Rapinoe to express her feelings on a personal basis, it is another problem entirely to publicly scorn the flag while sporting the “USA” crest.
No one is forcing Rapinoe to represent the country on the world stage. If she wants to disrespect the flag, that is her prerogative. But she shouldn’t be able to do so while supposedly representing the very country she feels so negatively about.
In June, Rapinoe made it clear that she sees America as a racist country.
“I see American pride or at least my personal pride or what I think that the flag should mean is, like, an impossible standard in which we are always trying to get to,” she told NPR.
“Like, we’re not there. We were never there. First of all, the country was, you know, founded not on freedom and liberty and justice for all. I think we can just start to be very honest with ourselves about that.”
These comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of the principles America was founded on. While slavery is clearly a stain on the country’s history, the idea that the founding fathers did not found the country on “liberty and justice for all” is completely misguided.
In his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., famously spoke of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as a “promissory note” that needed to be fulfilled. Namely, people of color needed to be treated with the same freedoms as white Americans.
In the years since that speech, the United States has fulfilled that promise by prohibiting any laws that discriminate based on race. While people of color have not always been afforded the freedoms they deserve, their rights are enshrined by law.
Racism certainly still exists in the country, but there are no longer laws in place that withhold rights from people of color. That equality was the vision of the Founding Fathers, and the country has largely fulfilled that vision.
When Rapinoe and other athletes disrespect the national anthem, they are proclaiming exactly what Rapinoe told NPR. She believes the country was founded on racism.
Not only is her assertion false, it is also dangerous to anyone who believes it. The misguided notion that the Founding Fathers were dedicated to oppression rather than liberty erodes the very fabric that holds our country together.
Furthermore, if Rapinoe really “bullies” her teammates to kneel during the anthem, she is essentially forcing this false and dangerous view of America onto them.
The more Americans who accept this falsehood, the more trouble the country will be in.