What do you do when the president of your country is calling out your girlfriend when she’s just trying to do her job? For WNBA player Sue Bird, that means cheering for Megan Rapinoe, who happens to be the captain of the US Women’s National Team, even harder.
“What’s it like to have the literal President of the literal United States (of literal America) go Full Adolescent Boy on your girlfriend? Hmm. Well… it’s WEIRD. And I’d say I actually had a pretty standard reaction to it: which was to freak out a little,” Bird wrote in the Players Tribune on Tuesday. “That’s one thing that you kind of have to know about me and Megan: our politics are similar — after we won the WNBA title in Seattle last season, no way were we going to the (f*cking) White House! — but our dispositions are not. And as we’ve been talking through a lot of this “stuff,” as it’s been happening to her, you know, I’ll be honest here….. some of it scares the sh*t out of me!!”
This began, in a way, when Rapinoe began participating in the same protest former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began by kneeling during the national anthem before games. She’s continued the protest through the years and has carried it through to the soccer pitch at the World Cup in France this summer.
Last week a reporter from Eight by Eight magazine asked Rapinoe if she was excited about going to the White House, which has become a tradition for America’s championship teams. She immediately scoffed and said, “I’m not going to the White House,” before adding that she hardly expects to even be invited.
Of course within hours, Trump, who openly opposed the protest, fired back. He claimed to be a “big fan” of the “American team and Women’s Soccer,” and added he is “now inviting the TEAM, win or lose.” He then lambasted her for disrespecting “our Country, the White House” and the American flag for her protest.
Bird, in her Players Tribune essay, stressed that Trump had never invited a WNBA championship team to the White House. Interestingly, she says that when South Carolina won the college national championship in 2017, the team, coached by a Black woman, was not initially invited the the White House; meanwhile Baylor, a team coached by a white woman, was invited “with no issues.”
“I mean, some of it is kind of funny….. but like in a REALLY? REALLY? THIS GUY??? kind of way,” she writes. “Like, dude — there’s nothing better demanding your attention?? 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. And you’ve got all these crazy blogs writing terrible things about this person you care so much about. And now they’re doing takedowns of Megan on Fox News, and who knows whatever else. It’s like an out-of-body experience, really — that’s how I’d describe it. That’s how it was for me.”