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Controversial women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe said in a weekend press conference before her final U.S. women's national team game that she's prouder "by a mile" of her "gay rights," "trans rights," and "racial justice" activism off the field than of her on-field accomplishments.
What are the details?
Answering the first question at Saturday's press conference, Rapinoe, 38, said that "what we've done off of the field, I think that has made such a lasting impact" and "I think we've been a big part of pushing, talking about whether it's gay rights or racial justice or trans rights ... more into every conversation around sports, in particular around women's sports. We've been such a driver of that and have made that just as important as what we are doing on the field. I think we really believe it is just as important."
Rapinoe said the increased profile the USA women's soccer team attained after the 2011 Women's World Cup and her decision to come out as gay were turning points in her evolution of using her platform to promote social justice, ESPN reported.
"I think my experience of coming out and just after the World Cup leading into the Olympics was a big one, and just the reaction that I got, whether that was people coming up to me and saying how much that meant to them, or it gave them space to come out," she added, according to the sports network.
Rapinoe added that her "expressions of joy" could be viewed as defiant acts against her detractors, ESPN said: "I think a lot of times my joy, or expressions of joy, was absolutely an act of resistance or a big glaring sort of middle finger to everyone. Like, 'This is my life, and this is my career, and I get to do with it what I want to do with it.' And we get to express ourselves the way that we want to express ourselves. I think the team not only has a right to do that, but has earned that right to do that."
Megan Rapinoe Retirement Press Conference | September 23, 2023youtu.be
After her final USWNT game Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago — a 2-0 win against South Africa in a "friendly" match — Rapinoe said that "it's a really beautiful thing to look out and see little black girls and little trans kids and boys with our jerseys on. I think that's something that all of us are really proud of and all of us — especially in our generation — know the impact that we've made. And we know that it's a lot different now than when we started," ESPN reported in a separate story.
Last month, after Team USA's embarrassing, earliest-ever elimination from the World Cup, Rapinoe made similar statements, taking solace in her squad's social activism that she said "changed the world forever."
Rapinoe badly missed a penalty kick during a shootout against Sweden in the elimination game, which the U.S. women lost.
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Sr. Editor, News
Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.