She was everywhere last week — in the ticker-tape parade in New York City, at the ESPY awards, on late night TV and on cable shows. And why shouldn’t Megan Rapinoe, one of the most famous people on the planet after leading the U.S. women’s soccer team to its second consecutive World Cup win, make the most of her team’s inspiring win?
She and her teammates have used the opportunity to raise the issue of equal pay. (It’s not every sporting event where the fans chant “Equal pay!” after a victory.) Like a season politico pro, she put U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro on the spot in publicly assuring the New York crowd he really was going to come through and understood the need to pay female athletes fairly. “I think he’s with us. I think he’s on the right side of things,” she said. “I think he’s going to make things right.” Well, now it would be hard for him not to, right?
She also made a heartfelt and timely plea to the crowd. “This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less,” she said. “We’ve got to listen more and talk less. We’ve got to know that this is everybody’s responsibility. Every single person here. Every single person who’s not here. Every single person who doesn’t want to be here. Every single person who agrees and doesn’t agree. It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place.” A fine message for her young fans — and for all adults.
The high point of her week may have been on CNN when Anderson Cooper asked her what message she had for President Trump. Looking straight into the camera, she said:
I would say that your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of you’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.
I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about with "Make America Great Again.” I think that you’re harkening back to an era that was not great for everyone. It might have been great for a few people, and maybe America is great for a few people now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world, and I think we have a responsibility, each and every one of us. You have an incredible responsibility as the chief of this country to take care of every single person, and you need to do better for everyone.
Well, that about sums it up. For using her platform wisely, speaking truth to power and reminding her fellow citizens of their obligations to one another, we can say, well done Ms. Rapinoe.