U.S. national soccer team player Megan Rapinoe continues to draw media attention by shunning the Star Spangled Banner at the World Cup in France. Reliable left-stream USA Today writers are defending her and criticizing The Hill and President Trump for faulting her ongoing protest.
USA Today's Nancy Armour (in file photo) writes The Hill is creating controversy "where there is none" in its coverage of Rapinoe, who stands for the anthem, but looks away and does not put hand over heart and sing the anthem with her teammates. Armour says Rapinoe (inspired by Colin Kaepernick) has been peacefully protesting police brutality and racial inequality for three years and The Hill is guilty of a fake news narrative. Here's a portion of The Hill's story yesterday by Jordan Fabian and Saagar Enjeti:
"President Trump on Monday said he does not think it's appropriate for Megan Rapinoe, a co-captain of the U.S. women's soccer team, to protest during the national anthem.
"'No. I don’t think so,' Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Hill when asked about Rapinoe's actions."
Armour questioned their intelligence for daring to question Rapinoe, the undisputed lesbian queen and social justice warrior of pro women's soccer. "Or have we sunk to such levels of stupidity and irresponsibility in this country that a 'news' organization will disparage an athlete who has helped bring the United States success at the highest levels in hopes of generating clicks."
Will The Hill go after Tom Brady next, who paid little attention to the anthem at this year's Super Bowl, Armour asked. How about most members of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox, who didn’t join in the singing at last year's World Series? "See how absurd this is?" she asks.
And, "The Hill has chosen to demonize Rapinoe in an appeal to the basest people in this country," Armour writes.
On June 12, The Hill called Rapinoe's protest during the national anthem an “act.” Then, yesterday, The Hill asked Trump for his reaction, which is as predictable as it was laughable, Armour contends.
Armour criticized The Hill for trumpeting its story with Trump's reaction to Rapinoe as an “exclusive. ... Over and over and over again. At least five times in five hours, including twice in a 12-minute span, on Twitter. The gambit worked, with several outlets ― USA TODAY Sports included ― picking it up." The Hill isn't interested in discussions about anthem protests, preferring instead to generate internet click's at Rapinoe's expense, Armour writes.
In one last defense of Rapinoe's sexual orientation, Armour accuses the Trump Administration of actively pursuing or enacting policies that discriminate against the LGBTQ community. "To say nothing of all the other things Trump has done that have undermined the Constitution and violated the standards of common decency."
Another reporter asked Rapinoe if she's excited about visiting the White House if Team USA wins the World Cup, and a Twitter post today by "Eight by Eight" shows her saying, "I'm not going to the fucking White House. No. I'm not going to the White House. I doubt we'll be invited."
In a second USA Today story on Rapinoe Tuesday, Tom Schad writes, "it is relatively common for athletes across sports — and fans in the bleachers — to choose not to sing along with the national anthem or put their hands over the hearts ... ." He also says, "Trump has long been critical of athletes who kneel or otherwise protest during the national anthem, calling them unpatriotic."
The Hill story noted that Trump has suggested NFL anthem protesters shouldn't be in the country, and though he disagrees with Rapinoe's actions, he praised the U.S. women's national team: "I love watching women's soccer. They’re really talented."
Rapinoe's anthem protest will continue to draw media attention as Team USA plays France Friday in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.