Megan Rapinoe shared a triumphant photo of herself holding Wednesday's New York Daily News, and her fans went wild. Rapinoe and the U.S. National Women's Team inspired fans this weekend by winning the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, and Rapinoe has used her platform to make bold political statements. The folks in the newspaper business took notice.
The front page in Rapinoe's hands shows a statue of liberty modeled to look like her. The iconic green lady has her headdress painted a pinkish-purple, not unlike Rapinoe's own distinct shade. She also wears a jersey from the U.S. National Women's Team, and grips a soccer ball at her side. Overhead, she holds the trophy itself.
"UNITED WE STANDS," reads the headline. "City salutes America's team with parade up Canyon of Heroes."
Rapinoe's copy of the paper had a few signatures on it, presumably those of her teammates. The team has become super stars in the last couple of weeks, both for winning the World Cup and for drawing the attention of the U.S. to a sport that it usually ignores.
Rapinoe has brought attention to much more than that with her outspoken political beliefs. The team co-captain set a domino effect in motion last month when she told reporters she was "no going to the f—ing White House," even if they were invited by President Donald Trump.
The president lashed out with his own fury at Rapinoe, issuing an invitation then and there to her and the rest of the team, whether they won or not. Following their victory on Sunday, the Trump administration has been indecisive on the question of a visit. However, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have asked them to stop by, so that may be in their future.
In the meantime, Rapinoe took heat for yet another political stunt on Wednesday: declining to put her hand over her heart during the National Anthem. Rapinoe was the first white professional athlete to kneel during the Star-Spangled Banner in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick back in 2016. While she did not go that far in New York City on Wednesday, she did hold her hands respectfully behind her back.
Rapinoe has been maligned for these world-stage public statements, but on Tuesday she told CNN's Anderson Cooper that it was worth it.
“I think that protest is not comfortable ever,” she said. “It’s going to force people to look inward and question everything they thought that they knew.”