Sue Bird, the girlfriend of U.S. Women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, said that Megan and her team’s World Cup win was the “ultimate silencer” of Donald Trump, USA Today reports.
Bird, who is herself a professional athlete — she plays for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Seattle Storm — spoke with USA Today writer Scott Gleeson and talked about the issue of professional athletes using their status to advocate for political causes.
That issue has rarely been more apparent than it has been in the past few weeks, as the dispute between Bird’s girlfriend, Megan Rapinoe, and Donald Trump played out while Megan was on the field in France, leading her team to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship.
For decades, it’s been a tradition for the POTUS to invite championship-winning teams to the White House for a meet-and-greet, and indeed, in his presidency, Donald Trump has invited several. But in a months-old interview that surfaced after the cup got going, Megan could be heard saying that she wouldn’t be going to “the f**king White House” if her team won. Trump first tweeted that Megan should focus on winning before discussing post-championship White House visits, but then later said the team would be invited, win or lose.
Of course, win they did, with Megan taking home two of the tournament’s top honors (the Golden Boot, awarded for scoring the most goals, and the Golden Ball, awarded to the MVP).
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— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 7, 2019
Bird says that her girlfriend’s performance on the field should be sufficient to silence Trump on the matter.
“Megan let her play speak for itself. President Trump likes to play games on Twitter to (cater) to his followers. For him to go at Megan and twist it and flip it, then saying they better win, it’s something everyone should be able to see through. Obviously, she went out there and balled out.”
Bird went on to talk a bit about how professional athletes are given platforms to speak about politics and social issues. Compared to the entertainment industry, relatively few professional athletes use their position to advocate for politics.
But as a lesbian and as a female professional athlete, Bird says that she can’t ignore the position she’s been put into. So advocate she will, she says.
“Most of it is just us being ourselves and having a (spotlight) that comes with it. It makes you think about all of the (LGBT pioneers) that came before who were comfortable and bold enough to speak their truth,” she said.