Megan Rapinoe says fight for equality in women's soccer is much more than about money. It's about investment in the sport

US Women's National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe says that President Donald Trump's message is excluding some Americans, including those that support him.

Posted: Jul 10, 2019 4:30 AM
Updated: Jul 10, 2019 4:30 AM

Megan Rapinoe could faintly hear the stadium erupt in chants of "equal pay" as she and her teammates prepared to celebrate their World Cup win.

Rapinoe, one of the 28 players who sued the United States Soccer Federation alleging gender discrimination, said it felt like an iconic turning point in history.

"I think we knew that this win, if we able to win, was going to be bigger than soccer. But that moment, I think, just solidified everything," she told AC 360's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. "It was like this World Cup win is so much more than what was on the field."

Fresh of Sunday's World Cup win, Rapinoe spoke exclusively to CNN in a wide-ranging interview on her refusal to visit the White House, her message to President Trump and her fight for equality in the sport of soccer. She touched on her activism and her famous goal celebration, arms spread wide.

The federal class-action lawsuit against the soccer federation alleges the men's national team earns more than the women's team, even though the women play more games and win more matches.

Rapinoe said the issue is about "so much more than the money"

"It's really more about the investment in the game. Is the investment equal? We're talking marketing dollars and branding, investment in the youth, investment in the players, investment in the coaching staff. I don't think that that's there. I don't think that that's ever been there."

She said the men's side of sports in general is seen as "this exciting opportunity, business opportunity that needs to be invested in."

"The women's is like, 'How cheap can we do this while sort of them keeping them happy?'" she said.

Rapinoe's message to President Trump: 'Your message is excluding people'

Rapinoe has been engaged in a war of words of sorts with President Trump after her refusal to visit the White House if the team was victorious.

In January, a reporter from Eight by Eight, a soccer magazine that explores the sport and its place in culture, asked Rapinoe if she was excited about going to the White House if her team won the Women's World Cup.

"Psssh, I'm not going to the f*****g White House," she fired back in January before the reporter finished the question. "No. I'm not going to the White House. We're not gonna be invited. I doubt it."

The magazine posted the short interview clip last month on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, President Trump claimed sports teams "love coming to the White House" and attacked Rapinoe, saying she "should WIN first before she talks!"

"Finish the job!" the President said. Then he extended an invitation "win or lose."

Rapinoe told reporters that she stood by the comments "with the exception of the expletive; my mom would be very upset about that."

Rapinoe reiterated on Tuesday that she meant what she said.

"I meant with all the inflection and all of the sort of attitude that I gave with it, I meant all of it and every word of it," she said.

Rapinoe said she is still disinterested in visiting the White House.

"I would not go and every teammate that I've talked to explicitly about it would not go," she said.

"I don't think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we've worked so hard to build, the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life," she said, "I don't think we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration."

Rapinoe said she envisions any White House visit as "an opportunity for this administration to sort of put us on display as their, sort of, guests for the day."

When asked what her message to the President would be, she said: "I think that 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 color. You're excluding Americans that maybe support you," she said.

Over the years, the Californian has called President Trump "sexist," "misogynistic," "racist" "small-minded" and a "jerk but entertaining."

'You're not going to take our joy'

Rapinoe has been outspoken on social justice issues.

In 2016, she was among the first white professional athletes to show solidarity with professional football player Colin Kaepernick when media first began reporting on his kneeling during the national anthem to protest the police shootings of African-American men and other social injustices faced by black people in the United States.

Rapinoe knelt during a game a month after it was first noticed that Kaepernick was kneeling.

She said Tuesday she didn't see kneeling as disrespecting the flag or the anthem. She didn't understand the criticism against her.

"I think that taking care or others, standing up for yourself and other people, if they don't have the ability to do so, is very uniquely American," she said.

She added: "I don't think anybody can deny the horrors of racism and Jim Crow and mass incarceration, and what's happening on the southern border and gay rights and women's rights."

She recalled that the moments kneeling were a little difficult for her "especially after the first time that I did it, knowing how angry people were."

"It was difficult and heavy, but I had this immense sense of pride and responsibility in doing that, so I think that's where the strength of doing it a number of times came from," she said.

Rapinoe said since the team's World Cup win, she has been running on "fumes and water and adrenalin."

Rapinoe, the US National Team co-captain, is easily recognizable with her purple hair. The sight of her raising her hands up high in the corner of the field after scoring in the World Cup has become an indelible image.

She did the pose in a game before leaving for the World Cup matches. She decided to do it again as the team coped with the pressure on the world stage.

"It was a moment I think for everyone to celebrate through that, like you're not going to take our joy from anything. It was just like this 'we have arrived,' sort of," she said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62856

Reported Deaths: 3032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11433443
Cuyahoga8786393
Hamilton6563207
Lucas2889305
Marion274039
Montgomery237835
Summit2299209
Pickaway221641
Mahoning1907239
Butler176747
Columbiana135060
Stark1196114
Lorain109769
Trumbull103277
Warren94525
Clark79310
Delaware67515
Fairfield64317
Tuscarawas60110
Lake57022
Belmont56722
Medina56632
Licking56012
Miami50331
Portage48759
Wood47451
Clermont4537
Ashtabula44544
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3635
Allen34841
Greene3229
Mercer29510
Erie26722
Holmes2575
Darke25326
Huron2382
Madison2139
Ottawa16624
Sandusky15715
Washington14420
Coshocton1413
Ross1393
Crawford1385
Putnam13415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Athens1111
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1052
Muskingum961
Union931
Monroe8917
Hancock851
Lawrence820
Preble821
Hocking809
Clinton791
Guernsey793
Shelby744
Williams742
Logan681
Fulton660
Scioto650
Carroll643
Ashland632
Wyandot625
Brown601
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland491
Van Wert451
Perry411
Seneca402
Henry330
Paulding280
Jackson270
Pike270
Adams251
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 81°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 83°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Sunday starts wet, ends dry
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events