On Monday, Sports Illustrated named U.S. women’s soccer star and famed anthem protester Megan Rapinoe “Sportsperson of the Year.”
“Playing the world’s game, on the world’s stage, under attack by a world leader, she dominated. And in doing so without fear, Megan Rapinoe became a voice for so many across the world,” Sports Illustrated gushed in an announcement post.
During the 2019 World Cup, Rapinoe refused to hold her hand over her heart as a “f*** you” to “sexist,” “racist,” and “small-minded” President Donald Trump.
— XpressNews (@xpressnewsasia) June 12, 2019
“So it’s kind of a good ‘F you’ to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don’t look exactly like him,” Rapinoe, who is openly gay, told Yahoo! Sports in May, regarding the anthem protest. “Which, God help us if we all looked like him. Scary. Really scary. Ahh, disturbing.”
As noted by The Daily Wire, the soccer star’s anthem protest started in the form of kneeling, mimicking former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. However, in response, the United States Soccer Federation amending their bylaws to forbid such action, Rapinoe subsequently adjusted her protest.
“Our national anthem is an opportunity … to reflect upon the liberties and freedom we all appreciate in this country. As part of the privilege to represent your country, we have an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played,” a statement from the organization said.
Sports Illustrated said Monday that Rapinoe is the fourth woman to win the “Sportsman of the Year” award in its 66-year history, “a feat that is both a remarkable athletic achievement and a reflection of entrenched gender biases.”
“Rapinoe challenged perceptions of her, of female athletes, of all women. She led her teammates, three months before their tentpole tournament, to sue the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay; to declare in advance that they would not visit the White House when they won the Cup; to score 13 goals in a group-stage match against Thailand, without apology,” the post continued.
In June, before the U.S. team won the World Cup, Rapinoe told Eight by Eight that she would not be accepting an invitation from the president to visit the White House if the national team were to win. “I’m not going to the f***ing White House. No. I’m not going to the White House,” she said. “We’re not gonna be invited. I doubt it.”
This is not the first award Rapinoe has taken home. Last month, the athlete was named Glamour’s “Women of the Year.” As noted by The Daily Wire, Rapinoe used the acceptance speech to praise Kaepernick.
“While I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented, and frankly, a little bit uncomfortable attention and personal success in large part due to my activism off the field, Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned,” Rapinoe said.
“It would be a slap in the face to Colin and to so many other faces not to acknowledge, and for me personally to work relentlessly, to dismantle that system that benefits some over the determent of others and frankly is, quite literally, tearing us apart in this country,” added the soccer star.