Megan Rapinoe drew the ire of Donald Trump when she rejected an invitation to visit the White House should the USWNT win the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Then her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, turned up with a powerful essay showing her love and support.
From advocating for equal pay, to breaking records with their 13-0 victory over Thailand, the USWNT have been making headlines throughout the whole of this year’s Women’s World Cup both for their fearless voices as well as their nimble footwork.
As the US women’s soccer team advance to its third consecutive World Cup Final this Sunday after defeating England’s Lionesses in a high-stakes semi final match, the drama only looks set to continue. Because WNBA star Sue Bird has penned an essay celebrating her girlfriend and co-captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team Megan Rapinoe - and defended her from Donald Trump’s condemnation (the POTUS publicly criticised the footballer for rejecting an invitation to visit the White House).
For context, the soccer star and the POTUS clashed after Rapinoe declared that she is “not going to the f-king White House” should the US women’s soccer team win the World Cup, prompting Donald Trump to warn the player on Twitter that she “should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag”. Rapinoe then doubled down on her refusal to accept an invitation in a subsequent news conference, stating: “I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive. My mom will be very upset about that,” whilst encouraging her 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 we fight for.”
Enter Rapinoe’s girlfriend basketball star Sue Bird, who is a legendary athlete in her own right with three WNBA titles (2004, 2010, 2018) and four Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) to her name. In the aftermath of the row, she penned an essay in The Players’ Tribune, defending her girlfriend and the whole of the USWNT against Trump’s “hate-filled Twitter spree”.
In the essay, aptly titled “So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend,” Bird explains that she never anticipated writing another column for the publication because she broke her nose, unless the President of the United States trolled her girlfriend “while she was putting American soccer, women’s sports, equal pay, gay pride and TRUE LOVE on her back, all at once, scoring two majestic goals to lead Team USA to a thrilling victory over France and a place in the World Cup SEMIFINALS, for me to ever even think about writing again.”
Bird, who has been dating Rapinoe since September 2016, explained that it was a surreal experience to have the POTUS go “Full Adolescent Boy” on her girlfriend, writing that Trump’s comment were “weird”, and like having an “out of body experience”, although she admitted that some of it “some of it scares the s— out of me” and made her “freak out a little.”
“And then what’s legitimately scary, I guess, is like…how it’s not just his tweets. Because now suddenly you’ve got all these MAGA peeps getting hostile in your mentions. And you’ve got all these crazy blogs writing terrible things about this person you care so much about. And now they’re doing takedowns of Megan on Fox News, and who knows whatever else,” she continued.
Bird’s essay then changes tact and becomes a love letter of sorts to the strength of her girlfriend’s character, writing that Rapinoe proved she was completely “unfazed by the assholes of the world now” and the fallout from the controversy by scoring two penalty kicks against Spain in the knockout stages.
“Megan, man….. I’ll tell you what. You just cannot shake that girl,” Bird wrote. “She’s going to do her thing, at her own damn speed, to her own damn rhythm, and she’s going to apologise to exactly NO ONE for it.”
Bird goes on to praise her girlfriend’s unapologetic activism, which has seen her champion LGBTQ+ rights, equal pay, and protest racial injustice in a politically-fuelled World Cup tournament.
“It was like the entire country, all at once, said — Soccer? YES. Women’s soccer? YES. An openly gay superstar swagging out with two goals and batsh*t celebrations and leading us to a huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES. That same openly gay superstar not just taking some pre-approved, basic level of pride in her sexuality, but actually being the world’s biggest most kissable goofball queen and literally crediting her sexuality for those two goals and her batsh*t celebrations and our huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES.”
“I just think it’s also really important not to forget what this is actually, first and foremost, about, you know? It’s about a world-class athlete, operating at the absolute peak of her powers, on the absolute biggest stage that there is. It’s about an athlete f*cking killing it.”
The Seattle Storm guard also took a moment to celebrate the athletic achievements of the whole of the US women’s soccer team, honouring the way the “indestructible USWNT women stand up for themselves and (this seriously can’t be stressed enough) crack a LAWSUIT over the heads of U.S. Soccer while they go out and grind for a freaking World Cup.”
“Oh right and they literally are MORE PROFITABLE THAN THE MEN,” she quipped.
Finishing her essay, Bird praised her girlfriend’s contribution in the USA’s quarter final victory against France last week, in which Rapinoe scored two goals to push the team through to the semifinal.
“I was happy. I was crazy. I was PROUD. I was pretending to know about soccer. I was a little overwhelmed. I was pretty damn American,” she wrote. “And I was in love with Megan Rapinoe.”