Megan Rapinoe celebrates after winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Final match between The United State of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 7, 2019 in Lyon, France. Photo: Shutterstock
Hope Solo, a former U.S. Women’s Soccer National Team (USWNT) team member, is being called out for accusing out player Megan Rapinoe of “almost bullying” her teammates into kneeling on-field during the national anthem as a way to protest anti-Black police brutality and racial injustice.
The only problem with Solo’s claim: She was kicked off of the USWNT in 2016, before Rapinoe and her teammates even began their kneeling protests.
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“There’s been so much debate about the kneeling, about the not kneeling,” Solo recently told All of Us: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show, a podcast of the soccer website Goal. “I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way.”
“Obviously I have friends on both sides of the aisle, but I think the kneeling thing can be very divisive,” Solo added. “I think that’s really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes. There’s a lot of pressure and ultimately at the end of the day our number one focus should and has always been to win first.”
Solo’s claim quickly circulated on mainstream news sites and right-wing websites, like The Daily Caller, where writers and readers have long-despised Rapinoe’s protests and her lesbian identity.
However, social media commentators have pointed out Solo last played with the USWNT during the August 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After that, the USWNT terminated her national team contract because she called Sweden’s women’s team “a bunch of cowards” after the team’s defensive strategy sent Solo and her teammates home from the Summer Games without a medal.
Rapinoe didn’t begin protesting during the national anthem until September 2016 when she took a knee during the national anthem during the Chicago Red Stars’ match against the Seattle Reign at Toyota Park in Chicago. She was the only one kneeled.
Solo wouldn’t have been around to see Rapinoe “‘almost’ bullying” teammates as she claimed.
Solo also has a checkered past. In 2014, she was arrested and charged with drunkenly assaulting her nephew and sister, leaving visible injuries. In 2015, she borrowed a USWNT team van with her husband who then drove it while drunk, leading to his eventual arrest.