Megan Rapinoe, who is the star of the U.S. women’s national soccer team and MVP of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, made it a point to bring up Colin Kaepernick in her speech as she accepted an award for being one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, saying, “I don’t feel like I would be here without” him.
Rapinoe thanked Kaepernick for his “courage and bravery” and “doing what is necessary and backing down to exactly nobody” which was a nod to Anthem protests in 2016 while he was quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
“[W]hile I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented — and, frankly, a little bit uncomfortable — attention and personal success, in large part due to my activism off the field, Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of known and systematic police brutality against people of color, known and systematic racial injustice, and known and systematic white supremacy,” Rapinoe told the audience at the awards on Monday.
“I see no clearer example of that system being alive and well than me standing before you right now. It would be a slap in the face to Colin, and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge, and for me personally, to work relentlessly to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country,” she continued.
Rapinoe was not only one of the first athletes to follow Kaepernick’s lead in kneeling during the Anthem, she was the first white professional athlete to do so in protest of police brutality. She also made headlines in 2019 for refusing to sing the National Anthem during the women’s World Cup earlier this year.
Rapinoe has also been very vocal about her disdain for President Donald Trump when she was caught on camera saying she would not go “to the f—ing White House” before the American team went on to win the 2019 World Cup.
“I’ve gained this incredible platform in such a short period of time, but I’m not going to stand on it alone. I refuse to do that. There’s going to be ladders on every side, all over the place. And I’m not going to act like it wasn’t Colin Kaepernick, Tarana Burke and the ‘Me Too’ Movement, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi of Black Lives Matter, the women of Time’s Up, Harvey Milk, Gloria Steinem, Audre Lorde, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and the injustices that so many others face that have put me in this very position.
“And I’m not going to act like my whiteness has nothing to do with me standing before you now. I don’t want to live in that kind of world. I don’t think that kind of world is the world that suits everybody and is going to move us forward in the direction that we need to go,” Rapinoe continued.