Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably well aware of how hard the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) has been killing it in the World Cup. Not only has the USWNT team already scored several goals, but as of July 2, it is the first-ever team to reach the finals for the third time in a row. Despite this, President Donald Trump recently posted several tweets bashing USWNT co-captain Megan Rapinoe and telling her to be "proud" of the flag she wears. However, Rapinoe's girlfriend, Seattle Storm player Sue Bird, wasn't having any of it. In an essay published on The Player's Tribune epic enough to rival The Odyssey or The Iliad, Megan Rapinoe's girlfriend called out Donald Trump for targeting Rapinoe, and you honestly have to drop everything and read it.
Bird's piece in the Player's Tribune, called "So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend," referenced some drama surrounding Rapinoe and POTUS. After Trump attacked Rapinoe on Twitter over an interview in which she said she wouldn't go to the White House, Bird stepped into to clap back.
Bird's post addressed a lot of different issues, including how proud she was of her girlfriend and the USWNT, the things she didn't understand about soccer, and how she's invented something called "Megan Goggles" to help her see the world from Rapinoe's perspective. But the big issue Bird covered was the president's recent tweets toward Rapinoe. In her post, Bird explored the question, "what's it like to have the literal President of the literal United States (of literal America) go Full Adolescent Boy on your girlfriend?" Spoiler: it's weird.
In answering this question, Bird said that even though her politics are similar to her girlfriend's, all this sudden attention from Trump, Fox News, and "MAGA peeps" freaked her out. She wrote,
It would be ridiculous to the point of laughter, if it wasn’t so gross. (And if his legislations and policies weren’t ruining the lives of so many innocent people.) And then what’s legitimately scary, I guess, is like….. how it’s not just his tweets. Because now suddenly you’ve got all these MAGA peeps getting hostile in your mentions.
Although Bird was shaken by the response, which she described as an "out-of-body experience," she said Rapinoe was "unfazed" because no matter what, she's "going to do her thing, at her own damn speed, to her own damn rhythm." When talking about Rapinoe's commitment to justice, such as kneeling during the national anthem or her LGBTQ advocacy, Bird wrote, "I think in trying to help others, Megan has cemented who she is."
The conflict between Trump and Rapinoe started when the president was asked to weigh in on Rapinoe's protest of the national anthem. The soccer star is among the athletes who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest against racial bias and inequality, although during the World Cup she has simply refused to sing along with the national anthem. When asked if he thought the protest was appropriate on June 24, Trump told The Hill, "no." In an interview released very next day, Rapinoe responded to a reporter who asked if she was excited to go to the White House by saying, "I’m not going to the f*ck*ng White House." The interview quickly went viral on social media.
The statement drew ire from Trump, who took to Twitter to say that Rapinoe should "win before she talks." He wrote, "I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!" He added, "Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag."
Rapinoe, for her part, didn't seem too bothered by the president's criticism. "I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive. My mom will be very upset about that,” she said on June 27 per The Washington Post.
Rapinoe is not the only athlete who the president has gone after. In 2017 and 2018, Trump weighed in against American football (as opposed to soccer) players who knelt during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. At a rally in September 2017, the president said he thought athletes who knelt should be fired. "Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired," he said.
Rapinoe at least can rest happy she has someone ready to go to bat for her. If writing a public letter to defend your girlfriend after the president has come after her isn't true love, then I don't know what is. Hopefully Bird's article will be the cherry on top when the USWNT hits the World Cup final on July 7, 2019.