Rapinoe drew Trump’s attention on social media after her criticism of him and her clear stance on not wanting to visit the White House after the tournament. That, naturally, started a cross-Atlantic feud between the two.
But her activism didn’t begin with Trump this summer. Far from it.
Rapinoe frequently protests during the playing of the national anthem by taking a knee, similar to NFL players protesting racial injustice, or by remaining silent with her hands behind her back. She has been at the forefront of the USWNT’s battle for equal pay for quite some time, and even called herself a “walking protest.”
The origins of her activism and fights for equality stem largely from her family and her childhood. Yet the confusing part, she said, is that her parents’ beliefs don’t quite line up with hers.
“I feel like I grew up with all of these lessons (about equality), but nothing was ever spoken. No language was ever put about it,” Rapinoe told The Guardian. “Both of my parents should be really progressive — especially my mom — and I don’t get that they’re not.
“I’m always saying, ‘You guys should really be Democrats!’ But they’re not, so what’s happening?”
Rapinoe said her parents are extremely supportive of her and are some of her biggest fans. Yet they still watch Fox News, despite repeated attacks several people on the network have made against her. They also, she believes, voted for Trump in the 2016 election — something she doesn’t understand.
“I think my dad voted for Trump and I’ll say, ‘I don’t get it. How are you simultaneously as proud as punch of me, and watching Fox News all the time, [who are doing] takedowns of your daughter?’” Rapinoe said, via The Guardian. “That’s why I’m like, ‘You guys need to go to therapy.’”
Though Rapinoe and her parents may not see eye-to-eye on issues, she said their family is still very close. She speaks with them daily, and has seen them progress on some issues.
In other areas, though, she knows it will take time.
“There’s been some major blow-ups,” Rapinoe said, via The Guardian. “I’m very close to my family. It’s not like, ‘Ugh, I’m from a conservative town and I never talk to them anymore.’ I talk to my parents all the time, every day. And I feel like I have seen progress and growth.
“I would love it if people understood you should never say racist things and be OK with gay people, or whatever it is. But, obviously, it doesn’t happen that quickly.”
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