USWNT star Megan Rapinoe described last week’s riots on U.S. Capitol Hill as deeply disturbing and frightening.
Rapinoe first addressed reporters Tuesday after a crowd supporting President Donald J. Trump stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol. Five people were killed in the violent riots, including a Capitol Police officer.
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I think the courage of lawmakers to go back and continue their work, and the sheer foolishness of some of those lawmakers who continue to incite violence and call for the cancellation of the election when the mandate was given by the United States and the people of the United States, is simply insane, said Rapinoe, who joined USWNT in the January camp after a nearly one-year absence from the team.
They must be held accountable.
Throughout her career, Ms. Rapinoe has been an active advocate for equal pay and other social justice issues, including LGBT rights. She was at odds with Trump over Twitter during the World Cup and participated in initiatives last year to win votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
She flipped when asked how she felt about seeing the NWSL players take a knee and speak out against systemic racism at the Challenge Cup. In 2016, Rapinoe knelt in solidarity with quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers. In response, American football banned players from kneeling during the national anthem, a rule that was rescinded last June.
I feel great pride and respect for the many people who are going through this journey, learning and growing, and I feel more comfortable talking about things, she said. What we saw in the summer and just during the pandemic with the protests will hopefully open the eyes of many people, especially my white teammates.
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Rapinoe, 35, last played on the 11th. March for the national team that defeated Japan 3-1 in the Chebvelle Cup. She told reporters she was happy to be back in football.
I feel really good physically and in many ways I’m just refreshed mentally and emotionally. Of course, I spent a lot of time in quarantine at home with Sue [Vogel] and just relaxing, Rapinoe said. But of course, I’m so excited to play again. It was very hard not being on the field with my teammates and not having a constant training atmosphere. Anyone who really knows me knows that I hate working alone.
When the coronavirus appeared in the United States last March and the National Women’s Football League canceled its season, Rapinoe, who plays for the OL Council, left for home.
Last summer, she withdrew from the NWSL Challenge Cup at Utah State and from the league’s fall series. She also refused to participate in the National Team camp in October.
She said the pause was partly due to the anxiety caused by COWID-19, but she was also exhausted by the whirlwind that followed the United States’ World Cup victory in France. Rapinoe was named FIFA’s best player and was awarded the Ballon d’Or for her performance at the First Football Tournament.
During his career, Rapinoe has scored 52 goals and 68 assists in 168 national team appearances since his first call-up in 2006. She missed a penalty kick in the USA’s victory over the Netherlands in the 2019 World Cup final.
While away this summer, she hosted the HBO Seeing America special, which included U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and published the One Life briefing. In October, she and WNBA veteran Sue Bird announced their engagement.
Coach Vlatko Andonovski said Rapinoe’s physique did not go unnoticed during the timeout. He expects Rapinoe and Carly Lloyd, who have not played since last spring because of an injury, to earn minutes in two test games against Colombia later this month in Orlando, Florida.
Megan and Carly did a huge, huge job. Our high performance department, the high performance coach, monitors everything they do, Andonovsky said. We have a pretty good idea of their situation. Physically, they are both even a little more advanced than we expected in the January camp.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.