In Defence of Megan Rapinoe

Photo: @USWNT

Megan Rapinoe speaks and the internet is outraged, well, some areas of the internet. Prior to the 2019 World Cup, many outside of the more dedicated fans of women’s football didn’t know very much about Megan Rapinoe.

Instead of celebrating her achievements, such as that beautiful cross to Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarter Final match (2 mins 25 seconds). Or her three goals and four assists at the London 2012 Olympics which contributed to the country’s gold medal. Or even the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards that she picked up due to her part in her team’s success in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

In the recent interview with BBC Sport, Rapinoe discusses a number of subjects but what seems to have been jumped upon by many is when she has stated, “I think women’s football in England is the same as in America – it is so far behind because of what we’ve had to overcome in the lack of investment. It’s 2020. How long has the Premier League been around? And we’re only just seeing a club like Manchester United put effort and pounds towards a women’s team? Frankly, it’s disgraceful.”

This appears to have upset many but for the life of me, I cannot understand why. Both are very much true statements, women’s football is suffering a lack of investment and it was unacceptable that Manchester United went so long without a women’s team. Any other view is just blind loyalty.

I’ve seen comments that Rapinoe is using Manchester United as clickbait to obtain more attention and boost her own ego. [At this point I am banging my head against the wall]. If she were to speak with Spanish press then she’d have probably cited Real Madrid as an example.

There is nothing to suggest she loves the sound of her own voice, unless you know her personally and she’s told you that, in which case I stand corrected.

Rapinoe has been provided with a platform by many in the media and she uses that positively to be a vocal supporter of causes such as the MeToo and Black Lives Matter, as well as being an advocate for numerous LGBT organisations. It seems that many would rather Rapinoe kept her mouth shut, this is despite all of these causes being morally progressive causes, but maybe that says something about the person criticising her? You wouldn’t see this level of hate directed at Ronaldo or Messi so it makes me feel that there is a definitely a sexist undertone to much of it.

Many cite the reason for their hatred of Rapinoe as her arrogance and suggest that they don’t agree with Rapinoe being given the status as one of the best players in the world and that bit is at least fair enough. If you do believe that then you’re in good company as Rapinoe told the Guardian, “I’m not out here being like: ‘I’m the best player,’ I’m probably not even the best player on my team, much less best player in the world.”

If you’ve got an issue with Rapinoe being widely discussed then direct your online hate to the sporting media, not the player herself. If you’ve got an issue with Rapinoe challenging for positive change then you are part of a much bigger problem. By all means, you do not have to like Rapinoe but why people feel the need to attack her every time she is interviewed it is beyond me, it just makes you a hateful troll.

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