Women’s soccer star Megan Rapino has embraced her role as an outspoken activist and opponent to former President Donald Trump in recent years.
One of her former teammates, however, is now claiming that she would “almost bully” other players to join her in kneeling during the national anthem.
“Politics in this day and age”
Hope Solo recently spoke out — and her accusation against Rapinoe sparked some controversy within the sports world. Some critics expressed skepticism, particularly in regard to the timing of the protests and Solo’s spot on the U.S. Women’s Soccer team.
In any case, Solo addressed the issue during a podcast interview last week.
“I think the rhetoric surrounding this team has been both divisive and inclusive,” she said. “I guess it’s kind of where we are in politics in this day and age.”
Solo went on to assert her belief that “the kneeling thing can be very divisive,” insisting that she had “seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way.”
Fox News noted that the retired player went on to say that she supports protests, adding that “it’s our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we’re comfortable with.”
“There’s a lot of pressure”
She seemed to insinuate that politics should take a backseat when it comes to sports, however, noting that athletes already face significant demands when approaching competition.
“I think that’s really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes,” Solo added. “There’s a lot of pressure, and ultimately at the end of the day, our number one focus should and has always been to win first.”
As for the claim about Rapinoe, Newsweek noted that the two players were no longer teammates at the time that kneeling protests began in 2016.
Solo was dismissed from the team in August 2016 after making disparaging remarks about Sweden following a loss in that year’s Summer Olympic Games. Rapinoe did not begin kneeling in protest until the following month.
Just because Solo was no longer on the same field as Rapinoe does not mean she was no longer aware of or watching what was going on with her former teammates. Unless someone involved in the process steps forward with more concrete evidence, the allegations will likely remain disputed and unproven.