Hope Solo: Megan Rapinoe Bullied Teammates To Protest Anthem

U.S. soccer star Hope Solo / Getty Images
August 17, 2021

Hope Solo, a former teammate of U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe, accused Rapinoe of pressuring her teammates to kneel during the national anthem.

"I've seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling," Hope Solo, who played on the U.S. women's national team with Rapinoe for 10 years, said in an interview last week. Solo called kneeling during the national anthem as a protest for racial justice "very divisive" and said the team's "number-one focus" should be to win.

"It's our right as Americans to do it whatever way we're comfortable with and I think that's really hard being on the main stage right now with so many political issues for athletes," Solo said.

Solo has criticized Rapinoe for her activism before. She said in March that Rapinoe's efforts to achieve equal pay for the women's soccer team were self-defeating.

"We were so close to achieving equal pay in 2016; it was offered to us, we were about to sign the contract," Solo said. "But Megan Rapinoe and the leaders of that team signed a less-than-equal [collective bargaining agreement], which is concerning for the overall class-action suit and the overall fight."

Rapinoe, who has played for the women's national team since 2006, gained national celebrity and notoriety in 2016 when she began to kneel during the national anthem before matches in solidarity with then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Her protests sparked a years-long feud with then-president Donald Trump, who accused Rapinoe of disrespecting her country, the White House, and the American flag.

The women's national team fell short of its Olympic gold aspirations in Japan this summer, settling for bronze after a 1-0 loss to Canada.

Published under: Megan Rapinoe