After being embroiled in a war of words with US President Donald Trump, Megan Rapinoe has become the focus of unprecedented scrutiny during her time at the Women’s World Cup.
Her absence from the US Women’s National Soccer team’s semifinal win over England prompted fevered media speculation as to the reason why Rapinoe wasn’t playing. Turns out she had a hamstring injury.
Earlier in the tournament attention on Rapinoe ratcheted up considerably after the 33-year-old unapologetically said she would decline any potential invite to the White House should the US defend its title – which didn’t take long to draw a response from Trump.
“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,” tweeted Trump.
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However, having watched her USWNT side reach a third consecutive World Cup final from the bench on Tuesday, the soccer star and social activist was keen to talk about what it means to her to be an American as the USWNT looked ahead to Sunday’s World Cup final.
“I think that I am particularly and uniquely and very deeply American,” Rapinoe told reporters.
“I know that I’m not perfect, but I think that I stand for honesty and for truth and for wanting to have a conversation and for looking at the country honestly,” she added.
“I feel very fortunate to be in this country, I’d never be able to do this in a lot of other places but also, that doesn’t mean that we can’t get better, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to be better.”
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‘Founded on slavery’
Over the years, the Californian has clashed with Trump, calling him “sexist,” “misogynistic,” “racist” “small-minded” and a “jerk but entertaining.”
“I think that this country was founded on a lot of great ideals but it was also founded on slavery,” she added on Tuesday.
“I think we just need to be really honest about that and be really open in talking about that so we can reconcile that and hopefully move forward and make this country better for everyone.”
The hamstring injury is not expected to rule out Rapinoe from playing in Sunday’s final against either Sweden or the Netherlands.