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Sports

US Soccer Coach Addresses Rapinoe's Anti-Trump Statements

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U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe said Thursday that she stands by her statement that she would not visit the “f—ing White House” if the United States wins the World Cup.

“I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive,” she said. “My mom would be very upset about that.”

Meanwhile, her coach apparently isn’t bothered by Rapinoe’s crude remarks or her decision to protest the national anthem on the World Cup’s international stage as an “F you” to President Donald Trump and his administration.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis said she didn’t feel the controversy over the comments would be a distraction for the team, which is preparing for Friday night’s quarterfinal match against France.

“I think this team has a remarkable focus,” Ellis said. “We all support Megan. She knows that. We know we have each other’s backs in there.

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“I think for our players, there’s only one purpose, one mission, why we’re here. Comments, media, whatever, it has always been something I think we can block out pretty easily.”

Rapinoe’s initial remarks were made during an interview for Eight by Eight magazine in which she was asked if she was excited about the prospect of going to the White House.

In a video excerpt of the interview posted Tuesday, she declared, “I’m not going to the f—ing White House. No, I’m not going to the White House. We’re not going to be invited. I doubt it.”

Trump responded to her vulgar comments in a series of tweet Wednesday and proved her wrong by issuing a White House invitation to the team.

In a series of tweets, Trump said, “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 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 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!”

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Speaking at a previously scheduled news conference Thursday, Rapinoe said she didn’t believe her comments would be divisive on the team.

“We’re very open with each other, obviously everyone knows who I am. I didn’t make the comments at a press conference here. They were made months ago, just kind of resurfacing,” she said. “I think, if anything, it just fires everybody up a little bit more.”

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She added, “Considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have, in using it for good and for leaving the game in a better — and hopefully the world in a better place — I don’t think that I would want to go, and I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way, doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for.”

Team USA’s Ali Krieger — who, like Rapinoe, is a lesbian — stood with her teammate in shooting down a visit to the White House. She also accused the president of being angered by “women who you cannot control or grope.”

“In regards to the ‘President’s’ tweet today, I know women who you cannot control or grope anger you, but I stand by @mPinoe & will sit this one out as well,” she tweeted Wednesday. “I don’t support this administration nor their fight against LGBTQ+ citizens, immigrants & our most vulnerable.”

Rapinoe started kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to show solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” Rapinoe told reporters at the time.

The U.S. Soccer Federation then adopted a policy that requires players to stand. Rapinoe does so, but she refuses to sing or put her hand over her heart like other players.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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