Today, the United States Women’s National Team is taking on the United Kingdom in the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup, but curiously absent from the starting lineup is Megan Rapinoe, the star athlete who has recently been causing a stir both for her dominant performance on the field and for her outspoken criticism of President Trump.
Heads turned around the nation when the team announced that Rapinoe, who has scored all four American goals so far in the knockout stage of the tournament, would not be in the starting line-up and did not participate in pre-game warmups.
While the team was quick to declare that this was not because of disciplinary reasons, they also refused to comment on her health. Rapinoe has not been seen warming up on the sideline, making it unlikely that this is some kind ofsurprise second-half feint.
"Rapinoe did not participate in pregame warm-ups." https://t.co/2BQVCy59NZ
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 2, 2019
Megan Rapinoe is OUT of the USWNT lineup vs. England. #FIFAWWC
Asked U.S. official if she's healthy: "Jill will deal with that after the game"
— Seth Vertelney (@svertelney) July 2, 2019
This is not tactical. Rapinoe not even warming up on sideline. She had tape on right leg yesterday. https://t.co/LBNJeHpeQ0
— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) July 2, 2019
Rapinoe made headlines around the nation when she quipped “No, I’m not going to the f*cking White House” if her team won the Women’s World Cup. She also referred to him as “sexist,” “misogynistic,” “small-minded,” “racist” and “not a good person,” but it was the refusal to share her spotlight with him that really set him off.
She earned his ire for her viral remarks, prompting an inevitable Twitter outburst from the ostensible leader of the free world.
Women’s soccer player, @mPinoe, just stated that she is “not going to the F…ing White House if we win.” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
Last night, Rapinoe’s girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, published a stunning essay in which she tore the president a new one for remarks:
“It would take the President of the United States going on a hate-filled Twitter spree trolling my girlfriend while she was putting American soccer, women’s sports, equal pay, gay pride and TRUE LOVE on her back, all at once, scoring two majestic goals to lead Team USA to a thrilling victory over France and a place in the World Cup SEMIFINALS, for me to ever even think about writing again,” Bird wrote. “But I’m a woman of my word. So here I am.”
All of this drama between the President and Rapinoe is causing many to wonder why the star player is being held out of a very, very important soccer game.
UPDATE: It appears that Rapinoe pulled a hamstring during yesterday’s practice and is sitting out for health reasons. That didn’t stop people from freaking out!
— KING 5 Sports (@KING5Sports) July 2, 2019
European security council currently meeting to figure out why Rapinoe is not starting.
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) July 2, 2019
i have't spent serious time watching soccer since i was in middle school and may not remember all the rules but that has NOT stopped me from explaining to our Slack in detail why holding Rapinoe out of the lineup is definitely NOT a sneaky strategy to throw England off
— Amanda Mull (@amandamull) July 2, 2019
NO MEGAN RAPINOE IN THE STARTING LINE-UP!
Now don't get me wrong, I love me some Christen Press BUT HOW CAN YOU SIT THE ONLY PLAYER THAT HAS SCORED ALL OF OUR GOALS IN THE KNOCKOUT ROUNDS????
SMH Jill Ellis SMMFINGGDMFINGHEAD https://t.co/UCMhltBytY
— Jimmy Conrad (@JimmyConrad) July 2, 2019
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 2, 2019
WHY ISN’T RAPINOE STARTING????
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) July 2, 2019
I need a Senate inquiry into why Rapinoe isn't starting https://t.co/NMbBVkRvtT
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 2, 2019