By Arnie Leshin
A lot to be learned here for a national figure like Megan Rapione. In her case, it should start with silence is golden, as in running her mouth in step with Thursday’s World Cup soccer quarterfinals against host France.
Especially since her defending champions wearing the red, white and blue are in quest of another gold. That should be closest to her, so should respect for the United States of America and letting her teammates play the game instead of listening to her babble away about her politics.
It’s like there is a time and place for everything. I’m sure she has heard this. I’m sure she has mouthed off many times about why she has traded in kneeling instead of standing when the Star Spangled Banner is played. It doesn’t matter where, respect travels well.
So while President Donald Trump is doing business in Japan and other countries, there’s no doubt he’s tuning in to the American women playing in France, that’s his team, no other, and if Rapione is playing on the same team, she should keep her mind on this match and the others on the USA menu.
Instead, she has to include old news from the days of Colin Kaperinick. News that has lowered attendance at NFL games, forced unneeded comments from the fans, and uncalled for disrespect of this nation’s historic times. Heck, the match with France hadn’t started yet, so why not voice her opinions on something else, as in what the good old USA should be doing and not doing on the pitch.
So after finding herself on the receiving end of a critical twitter diatribe by the President, she took time off from the more important practice to let it be known that she not only stood by her decision not to visit the White House after the ongoing 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is over, but she would also encourage her national team teammates not to go, either.
How so? President Trump follows the traditions of others, never refusing an invitation to a championship team in any sport, college or professional. He never remarks on who is good and who is bad or mixes in politics. He even tossed in that the USA National Soccer Women are invited whether they win or lose.
So far, there hasn’t been any words regarding this from the rest of the team. Good, win this match, win another championship, and decide whether or not you’re interested in visiting and being toasted in the White House. Don’t worry about the kind of food that the President orders, it’s an honor to be there.
Rapione can stay home, hopefully she has a gold medallion around her neck, but she has no business telling her teammates not to attend the White House festivities.
Even if others are, as she is, are critical of the President and his politics, and even previously kneeled during the national anthem, as she has, the overwhelming support by this land should carry over to the nation’s capital.
At least President Trump stuck to his All-American guns. In regard to Rapione’s disrespectfor the national anthem and substituting kneeling down to protest police brutality against minorities, he responded by informing her that never should we disrespect our country, the White House or our flag.
Getting in the last word, Rapione said that considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have and using it for good and 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 to the White House, and I think I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having it co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way or fight for the same things that we fight for.
“I’ll just leave it at that,” she said.
In my opinion, this match is the biggest of the World Cup so far, which leaves someone like Rapione out of the loop and overshadowing this event by bringing up the lingering controversy still brewing back home.
No doubt I will root, root, root for the USA side, but Rapione stands alone in my opinion, even if she wears red, white and blue.