Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has called out racism and homophobia in sport in her acceptance speech after being named FIFA female player of the year.
The openly gay player was the top scorer at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in June and lead the US women’s football team to victory. On Monday, she accepted the Golden Ball award at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony in Milan, Italy.
“If we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everybody other were as outraged about racism as [Manchester City player] Raheem Sterling and [Napoli player Kalidou Koulibaly],” Rapinoe said on stage.
“If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players. And if everybody was as outraged about the lack of equal pay and investment in the women’s game as women. That would be the most inspiring thing to me.
“That’s my ask of everybody. We have such an incredible opportunity as professional footballers, we have so much success. We have incredible platforms.
“I ask everyone here [to] lend your platform to other people. Lift other people up and share your success. We have a unique opportunity to use this beautiful game to change the world for better.
“I hope you take that to heart. Do something. We have incredible power in this room.”
Megan Rapinoe speaks out against inequality and homophobia
Megan Rapinoe grabbed headlines earlier this year for her outspoken and passionate advocacy for equality, LGBTIQ rights, and equal pay for women.
Three months ago, Megan Rapinoe got into a public spat with US President Donald Trump. She said she would reject a White House invitation because Trump “doesn’t fight for the same things we fight for.”
“I would not go, and also every teammate I’ve talked to about it would not go,” she told CNN in July.
“I don’t think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform we’ve worked so hard to build, the things we fight for and the way we live our life, allowing that to be co-opted by this administration.
“There’s so many people I’d rather talk to and have meaningful conversations to effect change in Washington than going to the White House.”
Addressing Trump directly, she said: “Your message is excluding people. You are excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me.
“You are excluding people of colour. You’re excluding Americans that maybe support you.”
Earlier this year, she joined 27 teammates in a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation alleging pay discrimination.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.