Women's World Cup 2019 - Megan Rapinoe: A woman shoots against Trump
Megan Rapinoe hides nothing. Not the love for her partner Sue Bird, not her body. Both showed it before World Cup in the American "ESPN Magazine", which raised the football player and the basketball player as the first same-sex couple on the cover.
And Rapinoe does not hold back with criticism. If Rapinoe moves with the US team into the final of the World Cup against the Netherlands (17 clock, TV: ARD, live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE), she is a moral authority not only team boss. It stands above all for what America really is - discipline and joy, lateral thinking and optimism.
But in America these days, that does not suit everyone, such as President Donald Trump. She got on with him, or he was with her. As with others who refuse their nation's obligatory patriotism, Trump's anger is aimed at Rapinoe because she, too, does not feel like embarrassing symbolism and pseudo-respect.
When Rapinoe was recently asked if she's looking forward to the White House in a World Cup victory, she says without looking up from her shoelaces, "I'm not going to the fucking White House."
The reaction was predictable. Rapinoe disobeyed "our country, the White House or our flag," the president informed his 62 million Twitter followers. He wrote Rapinoe's name wrong and marked the Twitter channel of a Megan Rapino. She wrote ironically: "Mom, pick me up, old men attack me."
And Megan Rapinoe? She responded to Trump's accusation that she was not proud enough of her country, saying, "I think I'm extremely American." Because: What is more American than resistance?
Reissue of the dispute with Colin Kaepernick
The back and forth is a remake of the dispute with football star Colin Kaepernick, who began in 2016 in protest against racism, kneel at the national anthem. Rapinoe joined in, as the first white woman, although it is unclear whether Trump noticed then. The now so rude rejected visit to the White House, he personally takes: "Teams love to get into the White House," said Trump, where often the opposite is true.
Rapinoe is more concerned with the person Trump described recently as "sexist," "narrow-minded," and "racist." She worries, like Kaepernick, about the social ills in the US. Although she is experiencing no repressions because of her skin color, she wrote when she first locked herself two years ago, to sing along to the anthem. "But I can not stand idly by."
Even at the World Cup in France, she stared straight ahead. "I'll probably never sing the national anthem again," she then said, which automatically made her the red cloth for Trump's loyalists.
Individuality and straightforwardness would have already been given to her by the parents, who drove her to school as a child, two hours behind, two hours back. Football was her salvation from the rural gloom of California, where others sank into drugs and crime - including her older brother Brian, today clean and her biggest fan.
Everyone knew that she was a lesbian for a long time, but it was not until 2012 that she made it public - shortly before the Olympic Games in London, where she won gold with the US team. "As a gay American, I know what it means when the flag does not protect all your freedoms," she says.
Fight for equal rights in sports
Rapinoe is also fighting in sports for equal treatment and equal pay for women; her team has sued the US Football Association for discrimination. Only on Saturday she complained that the same day as the World Cup final, the final of the Copa América and the Gold Cup of the men are held and that the women's prize money is a fraction of the men.
Of course it helps if you succeed. NFL players adore her, Hillary Clinton calls her a role model, fans get her face tattooed, after the World Cup victory in 2015, one of them cut into a corn field. At that time, Rapinoe and her colleagues were the first women's team in the US to be honored with a confetti parade through Manhattan.
Even then, the president invited the world champions to the White House, which they accepted without exception. Brilliantly, Rapinoe stood behind Barack Obama, who was almost two heads taller. This time she will be missing. Rapinoe would rather visit the progressive Congressional Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.