Reign FC and U.S. women's national team star Megan Rapinoe is standing by her comment that she would not go to the White House and meet with President Trump, if the defending champions win the World Cup again.
They're one step closer to that goal after Friday's 2-1 win over France in the quarterfinals, which saw Rapinoe scoring both U.S. goals like she did against Spain earlier in the week.
KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the controversy that swirled around Rapinoe this week.
STANDING BY HER COMMENT
Rapinoe said she stands by the comments she made in a video interview a few months ago, in which she said she would not go to the White House if the U.S. women were to win the World Cup.
The video surfaced this week and President Donald Trump criticized Rapinoe's comments.
Rapinoe told reporters at a news conference at the World Cup in France this week that the only thing she regretted about her initial comment was the expletive she used.
"I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House — with the exception of the expletive," Rapinoe said Thursday. "My mom would be very upset about that.
"But I think obviously, entering with a lot of passion considering how much, you know, time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have and using it for good and for leaving the game in a better place, and hopefully the world in a better place, I don't think that I would want to go. And I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn't feel the same way and doesn't fight for the same things that we fight for."
NO STRANGER TO CONTROVERSY
Rapinoe is used to speaking up for what she believes in. She was the first white athlete and first soccer player in 2016 to support then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem, to protest police brutality and social injustice.
"She's been at the forefront, whether it's social injustice or gender inequity, she's out there in front," Thiel said. "She's not afraid of blowback and I really have to admire the courage of her convictions. And I would say that about another athlete who might be conservative and want to do it on behalf of President Trump.
"I think athletes and entertainers who have these big social media platforms — people want to know what they think. These are people that are admired and I think having the courage of one's convictions and expressing it when you have the platform that is as big as sports is a good thing — if you're willing to take the heat.
"The only thing an athlete has to be aware of in this is becoming a distraction. And, as far as I can tell, Megan Rapinoe is an inspiration."