Former U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) goalkeeper Hope Solo claims that star U.S. player Megan Rapinoe bullied some players to get them to kneel during the national anthem before games.
“I think the rhetoric surrounding this team has been both divisive and inclusive. I guess it’s kind of where we are in politics in this day and age,” Solo told Goal.com.
“I think the kneeling thing can be very divisive,” Solo continued. “I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way.”
Rapinoe has been a lightning rod of controversy for women’s sports following a very public spat with former President Donald Trump in 2019. She refused an invitation to visit the White House if the U.S. women won the World Cup in 2019, using an expletive to preemptively turn the president down.
Trump responded, “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!’’
This year when the U.S. women’s side was humiliated in its opening Olympic game and ended up taking the bronze medal instead of the expected gold, Trump issued a statement: “If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze.”
“Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has,” he said.
But Rapinoe’s activism is not appreciated by everyone on the women’s team.
Members of the USWNT, including Rapinoe, periodically kneeled before matches, signaling solidarity with others fighting inequality. The team joined Great Britain, Chile, Sweden and New Zealand by taking a pre-match knee prior to their first Olympic contests.
However, Solo reportedly left the USWNT around a month before Rapinoe first took a knee in solidarity with former National Football League quarter back Colin Kaepernick.
Solo and Rapinoe played together for Seattle Reign in 2016 when Rapinoe first began kneeling during the anthem and before Solo was kicked off the U.S. team. She would know very well what was happening on the U.S. national team.
Solo thinks that political activism by players is unavoidable today.
Solo, 40, added that there is a lot of pressure on athletes and many feel they are “carrying the world on their back.”
“I think that’s really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure, and ultimately at the end of the day, our number one focus should and has always been to win first.”
Earlier this month, U.S. women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd stunned fans when she appeared to be the only American player standing before the team’s match against Australia at the Tokyo Olympics.
The problem isn’t the activism itself. It’s the inevitable pressure from leftists that turns a voluntary protest into a peer-pressured orgy of wokeness. But leftists like Rapinoe don’t see a problem with it. Forcing people to “do what’s right” is one more good deed, nothing more.