US soccer star Megan Rapinoe refuses to sing national anthem before World Cup match as an "F You to Trump"
"It's kind of a good ‘F you' to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don't look exactly like him," Rapinoe said in an interview earlier
Just moments ahead of the US soccer team's first match against Thailand in the Women's World Cup in France on Tuesday, midfielder Megan Rapinoe stuck to her resolve not to sing the US national anthem. As her teammates sang along to the "Star-Spangled Banner" in the Auguste-Delaune Stadium in Reims, Rapinoe stood silent with a stony face, Daily Mail reports.
The fixture saw the US women's soccer team record their biggest victory in World Cup history with a staggering 13-0 win over Thailand. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old played a monumental role in the match, scoring an important goal that kicked off the team's quest for a fourth title.
Nonetheless, Rapinoe bore the brunt of criticism on social media after her decision to skip the national anthem.
"Megan Rapinoe needs to be booted for her lack of patriotism. Why play for a country you hate," one person tweeted.
"So weird to have a scowl while your national anthem, the one that gave you the freedom to pretty much actually PLAY in this game," another commented.
"Megan Rapinoe doesn’t belong wearing red, white, and blue. Don’t play for the USA if you can’t respect it, don’t represent the USA if you hate it," one viewer fumed.
"Good for her! That is her right! Just like it is my right not to watch or cheer for spoiled rotten unpatriotic and unappreciative people like her who play on our National Team and are supported by my taxes!" another wrote.
Last month, Rapinoe told Yahoo Sports she would "probably never sing or honor the national anthem again."
"I'll probably never put my hand over my heart. I'll probably never sing the national anthem again," the LGBT activist said in an interview published on May 13. "It's kind of a good ‘F you' to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don't look exactly like him."
Rapinoe went a step further and preemptively declined the customary invitation from President Trump to the White House if her team manages to win the prestigious cup.
"I am not going to fake it, hobnob with the president, who is clearly against so many of the things that I am [for] and so many of the things that I actually am," she told Sports Illustrated in May. "I have no interest in extending our platform to him."
That said, Rapinoe has not always been so critical of US culture. She proudly sang "Born in the USA" after scoring a decisive point in a 3-0 win versus Colombia during a FIFA World Cup qualifying match back in 2011. She had no qualms about visiting former President Barack Obama in the White House after the US soccer team won the World Cup in 2015. However, the athlete has become famous for her activism over the last couple of years.
In a conversation with Yahoo Sports in May, she said she felt responsible to "use her platform" to speak out on social issues despite the possible backlash she may face from the president or his fervent supporters.
"I feel like I'm a walking protest," Rapinoe said, using labels including "sexist", "misogynistic", "small-minded", and "racist" to describe Trump. According to her, he is "not a good person."
When asked what it would take to restore her patriotism, Rapinoe said: "It would take criminal justice reform. It would take the huge inequality gap that we have to be much better. It would take a lot of progress in LGBTQ rights. We just have such a disparity in this country in so many different ways, inequality in so many different ways... There are things that are much more important than soccer."