Megan Rapinoe has responded to critics who claim she’s “un-American” for her vocal criticisms of President Donald Trump.
The U.S. women’s national soccer team co-captain told reporters that she is “particularly and uniquely and very deeply American.”
“If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, all the songs and the anthem and sort of what we were founded on, I think I’m extremely American,” she explained.
The star became the center of controversy after a video resurfaced of the athlete, saying she’s “not going to the fucking White House” if the team wins the World Cup. Trump used Twitter to slam the soccer star, who’s called him a racist and misogynist, but she doubled down. Speaking with reporters, Rapinoe said that “maybe you don’t agree with every single way that I do it or [what] gets discussed. I know I am not perfect.”
“But I know I stand for honesty and for truth and for wanting to have the conversation,” she said. “And for looking at the country honestly and saying, ‘Yes, we are a great country and there are so many things that are amazing and I feel very fortunate to be in this country’ … But also that doesn’t mean we can’t get better.”
She added that while she believes the country was founded on many great ideals, it was also founded on slavery. She challenged people to be open to dialogue around the topic “so we can reconcile that and hopefully move forward and make this country better for everyone.”
Rapinoe has protested the administration for some time. Back in 2016, she began kneeling during the national anthem in solidarity with football player Colin Kaepernick, who used the gesture to protest against racism and police brutality.
During her recent World Cup matches, Rapinoe did not participate in the national anthem, refusing to put her hand over her heart.
WNBA player Sue Bird, Rapinoe’s girlfriend, has backed the soccer player. She recently penned a piece entitled “So the President F**king Hates My Girlfriend” in which Bird dragged Trump for his attacks on the soccer player.
“Some of it is kind of funny … but like in a REALLY? REALLY? THIS GUY??? kind of way. Like, dude — there’s nothing better demanding your attention??” Bird wrote of Trump’s tweets. “It would be ridiculous to the point of laughter, if it wasn’t so gross.”
The U.S. women’s national soccer team faces off against the Netherlands in the World Cup finals on Sunday.