Authorities are investigating a possible hate crime directed toward Megan Rapinoe after posters featuring the USWNT star were defaced with derogatory slurs in New York. The vandalism occurred at the Bryant Park subway station in midtown Manhattan Monday, just a day after the team won the trophy at the World Cup in France.
The incident is reportedly being investigated by the New York Police Department's Hate Crime Task Force, ESPN first reported.
The outlet wrote that the posters have since been cleaned. Rapinoe has been an outspoken advocate for gender equity and LGBT inclusion and recently went viral when she told a reporter during the competition that she would not visit the White House if the team won at the World Cup.
"Hate has no place in the transit system and we work hard to make the subway a welcoming, safe environment for everyone," MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said in a statement to the New York Post. "We referred this to NYPD which responded to investigate, our maintenance teams got the posters cleaned and we will have them replaced with new ones if necessary."
Rapinoe and the rest of the U.S. Women's soccer team were honored with a victory parade in New York City Wednesday after defeating the Netherlands to win the Women's World Cup.
Ahead of the parade she encouraged Americans to "Love more" and "hate less." Before speaking at the parade, the team co-captain spoke with Anderson Cooper, reaffirming her stance that she would not visit the White House.
"I would not go to the White House, and every teammate I've talked with won't go either," she told the CNN news anchor Wednesday.
"I couldn’t be more proud to be a co-captain with Carli and Alex with this team," Rapinoe said during her speech. "It’s my absolute honor to lead this team out on the field."
She later continued to criticize the current political climate, adding: "We have to be better. We have to love more and talk less. We got to listen more and talk less. We got to know that this is every person's responsibility," she said. "Yes we play sports. Yes we play soccer. Yes we're female athletes, but we're so much more than that. You're so much more than that. How do you make your community better?"
Rapinoe's girlfriend, basketball star Sue Bird, also made headlines this week when she released NSFW editorial writing about the massive online backlash Rapinoe has faced for her comments about the President.
"I mean, some of it is kind of funny..... but like in a REALLY? REALLY? THIS GUY??? kind of way," Bird wrote in a Player's Tribune article. "It would be ridiculous to the point of laughter, if it wasn't so gross."
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