WNBA veteran Sue Bird said her girlfriend Megan Rapinoe's performance in leading the U.S. Women's National Team to a second consecutive World Cup title earlier this month was "the ultimate silencer" to President Donald Trump.
During the USWNT’s World Cup run, Rapinoe found herself a target of critical tweets by Trump, who had learned the soccer star wouldn't visit the White House under his administration. "Megan should WIN before she talks," Trump wrote in part on June 26.
“Megan let her play speak for itself,” Bird told USA TODAY Sports. “President Trump likes to play games on Twitter to (cater) to his followers. For him to go at Megan and twist it and flip it, then saying they better win, it’s something everyone should be able to see through. Obviously, she went out there and balled out."
After the USWNT won, Rapinoe went into the stands to embrace and kiss Bird, who had traveled to France during the Seattle Storm's break before the 2019 season began. Bird said Rapinoe "deserved it."
United States forward Megan Rapinoe kisses girlfriend Sue Bird after defeating the Netherlands in the championship match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 at Stade de Lyon. (Photo: Michael Chow, USA TODAY Sports)
“I saw firsthand what Megan had been through,” Bird said. “She had torn her ACL leading up to the (Rio) Olympics and then afterwards she knelt in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. A lot was happening where, it’s hard to believe now, but soccer could’ve been taken away from her. She overcame all that. She overcame so much and did it in insane fashion, not just on the field scoring goals, but off the field fighting the president.”
Bird said she has seen the backlash Rapinoe and other athletes get when they use their platform to speak out on social issues. That’s never sat well with her.
“It makes no sense to say, ‘Focus on your sport.’ Listen, athletes are people,” Bird said. “And especially when the president is quick to make comments publicly, at some point, everyone has the right to respond.
“Politics and sports are intertwined. And are we really talking about politics or are we talking about being a good human? And not being a racist? I’ve never heard Megan talk about tax reform. We’re talking about treating people equally. I can’t even get to politics because of the lack of humanity that (Trump) has shown.”
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