U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe has followed in the footsteps of NFL substitute Colin Kaepernick by refusing to stand for her country’s national anthem. The selfish 31 year old claimed she was taking the action to support Kaepernick as “it’s pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t,” she said.
Staged during a club game in an almost empty stadium in Illinois the protest has barely stirred a ripple in the U.S. On various websites the blonde has been pilloried by online audiences who have taken offence at her lack of respect for the flag. In other comments from Rapinoe we were given more insight into her motivations. “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she said. The fact that these comments were made is an example of how Rapinoe is simply selfish. Firstly she is using Kaepernick’s protest as an opportunity to draw attention to her own ‘terrible plight’, and secondly she has damaged the reputation of women’s sport and sport in general.
Women’s sport is always battling for significance. There are limited sponsors and limited viewers for women’s sport and when incidents like this come along, sponsors and fans turn their backs. Browsing through comments on various websites, she has been savaged. There have been calls for her to be “. . . kicked off the American team,” numerous degrading comments about lesbians and plenty of people asking “who is this?” as a means of belittling her. The fact is her selfish act has damaged more than Megan Rapinoe.
Her act, and that of Kaepernick and the other NFL players that are also proverbially wiping their butts with the flag is damaging the reputation of all sportsmen and women. More and more, sports personalities are coming across as selfish and out of touch with fans. What Rapinoe and Kaepernick could do well to remember is that Jo and Joanne Average don’t go to the football or the soccer to have political statements rammed down their throats. The stadium and the team is the place they go to get away from their work life and all the rubbish pedalled by politicians. My advice for Colin and Megan is to play ball and don’t ruin the game for every other professional athlete.
Professional sport has a relatively short history and behaviour like this ensures that professional sport will not exist for eternity.