Megan Rapinoe’s girlfriend, WNBA player Sue Bird, stuck up for the U.S. Women’s soccer star in her feud with President Donald Trump and insisted that calling Trump out and speaking about politics is an athlete’s duty.
Speaking to USA Today Bird claimed that in the World Cup feud with Trump, “Megan let her play speak for itself.” Even though, Rapinoe spent an inordinate amount of time making political pronouncements during the entire time the U.S. Women’s National Team played the Women’s World Cup in France.
“President Trump likes to play games on Twitter to (cater) to his followers,” Bird continued. “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.”
Bird also made Rapinoe out to be a victim.
“I saw firsthand what Megan had been through,” Bird told the paper. “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.”
In fact, the controversy surrounding Rapinoe was mostly driven by reactions to her constant and extreme political statements. And far from being forced to “overcome” anything, Rapinoe was patted on the back by her teammates and the team organization alike and encouraged to continue her political jeremiads.
Bird went on to insist that athletes have a duty to turn their sports into platforms for political agitation.
“It makes no sense to say, ‘Focus on your sport.’ Listen, athletes are people,” Bird explained. “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,” Bird added. “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.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.