U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe has electrified the world with her performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in recent weeks, especially during Friday’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over host country France, where she scored both of her team’s goals.
Off the field, Rapinoe ignited a firestorm of controversy this week when she spoke about the possibility of the team visiting President Donald Trump at the White House should they take home the trophy.
“I’m not going to the f—ing White House,” Rapinoe, who serves as team captain, said.
“No, I’m not going to the White House. We’re not going to be invited. I doubt it.”
“No f—ing way will we be invited to the White House,” she said.
“[Trump] tries to avoid inviting a team that might decline. Or, like he did when the [NBA champion Golden State] Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place.”
On Wednesday, the president responded, calling Rapinoe’s comments disrespectful to the country, but nonetheless inviting the entire team to the White House, “win or lose.”
Rapinoe stood her ground.
“I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with exception of the expletive, she said at a news conference Thursday, according to The New York Times. “My mom would be very upset about that.”
“But I think obviously answering with a lot of passion, considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have, and using it for good, and for leaving the game in a better place 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 and fight for the same things we fight for.”
“It may not be the White House, but we’d be happy to welcome @mPinoe & the entire #USWMNT for a tour of the House of Representatives anytime they’d like,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 28, 2019
“Consider it done,” Rapinoe responded.
Consider it done @AOC 🥳
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) June 29, 2019
One of Ocasio-Cortez’s fellow progressive congresswomen, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, added some gasoline to the fire.
“[N]o doubt the food & the company would be much better,” she wrote in response to Ocasio-Cortez, presumably alluding to the fast-food feast that Clemson football players enjoyed after they defeated Alabama to win the college football national championship.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) June 28, 2019
The U.S. women’s team, meanwhile, has had an eventful World Cup in France as the squad tries to defend its 2015 title.
The American women beat Thailand 13-0 in the group stage earlier this month and took heavy criticism for both running up the score and celebrating in a way some perceived as poor sportsmanship.
When the level of competition tightened, they ran the table in the group stage before winning a tight 2-1 game in the round of 16 against Spain.
Against France, Rapinoe’s two goals were all the offense the U.S. got.
The U.S. women will face England next week in the semifinals.
Should the U.S. advance, they’ll face the winner of the match between the Netherlands and Sweden before returning home, win or lose, to one of the most polarizing intersections of sports and politics in recent history.
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