Trump says it’s wrong US soccer star Megan Rapinoe protests during national anthem
President Donald Trump said Monday that he doesn’t believe it’s appropriate for U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe to protest during the national anthem, as she has in the years leading up to, and including, the World Cup.
“No, I don’t think so,” Trump told The Hill.
Rapinoe, who scored two goals Monday in the United States’ 2-1 win over Spain in the World Cup, previously kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016, before the U.S. Soccer Federation passed a rule requiring all players and staff to stand. More recently, the 33-year-old has declined to sing the song or put her hand over her heart while it is played before games.
While it is relatively common for athletes across sports — and fans in the bleachers — to choose not to sing along with the national anthem or put their hands over the hearts, Rapinoe has characterized her actions as a means of protest. She explained to Yahoo! Sports that she still views the pregame rendition of the song as a “somber moment” for a “peaceful protest.”
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“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” she told the news outlet in a story published last month. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.”
Rapinoe also described herself to Yahoo! Sports as “a walking protest” to President Trump’s policies, calling him “sexist,” “racist” and “not a good person,” among other things.
Trump has long been critical of athletes who kneel or otherwise protest during the national anthem, calling them unpatriotic.
In his comments to The Hill on Monday, Trump also said he loves watching women’s soccer, describing the players as “really talented.” But he demurred when asked about whether women’s players should be paid the same as men — which is at the core of a gender discrimination lawsuit that members of the women’s national team filed against U.S. soccer in March.
“I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics,” Trump told The Hill. “I mean who draws more, where is the money coming in. I know that when you have the great stars like (Cristiano) Ronaldo and some of these stars … that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people.
“But I haven’t taken a position on that at all. I’d have to look at it.”
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that U.S. women’s soccer games generated more total revenue than men’s games from 2016 to 2018.
Contact Tom Schad at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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