Somber Soccer Monday: Megan Rapinoe’s Plea

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, June 27, 2022

Hello everyone, this is Soccer Monday. I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends covering soccer, reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision and the U.S. track and field championships for the past four days. I’m toast after four 18-hour days and I need to rest up because the next assignment is going to be especially draining for a lot of different reasons: This week I’m covering the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf tour, which is coming to Oregon.

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Like many of you, I’m still stunned by the events of the past week: To celebrate Title IX on one day, and the next to be crying on the phone with a friend about the erosion of a right that we’ve had for decades.

Although everyone knew the Supreme Court’s decision was coming, was still a shock. They sports world acted accordingly, at least the women’s teams and athletes did, in reaction to the decision. The men were a bit slower, but there were some individuals — Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, for example — who made strong public statements.

Even at track, the great Allyson Felix weighed in:

But since this is soccer Monday, and not track and field Monday, U.S. Soccer put out a statement before the USWNT match against Colombia on Saturday night. Here it is if you haven’t seen it.

After the match, a 3-0 victory (with a big welcome to Taylor Kornieck!), Becky Sauerbrunn praised the federation. Let’s face it, this kind of statement probably wouldn’t be made before Cindy Parlow Cone presidency. And she also brought up how the USMNT acted on gun violence.

“That’s something that we’ve been asking of them for a very long time. And so yes, I think when there are these big social issues, and your players of the Federation are affected, that you support them and you shield them, and I think that’s what they did with the gun violence and today with the statement about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. So there’s progress. There’s always more progress to be made. But first steps are always good, and it’s good to see that they’re really starting to take a side,” Sauerbrunn said.

And, like many of us, Sauerbrunn was shocked at the severity of the decision.

“You can only prepare so much for something like that. People were thinking, `Oh, it’ll be incremental.’ No, it was huge and you have the trigger states and so no, it’s you wake up and it’s just crushing. It’s just crushing and then you know that it’s hitting minorities more than it’s gonna hit anybody else. And like Pinoe said yesterday, Cis white women, like they’re gonna be able to find and get abortions wherever they need to. It’s the minorities that are going to be hurt. And so now it’s kind of women getting together, non-binary, everyone that’s affected by this and basically just coming together and figuring out what we can do, how we can help all women.”

We’ve talked about this before, but the USWNT isn’t going to stick to sports, ever. It’s just not a part of their DNA. Even Lindsey Horan, who doesn’t weigh in much on political and social issues (and that’s her right!) commented.

“I don’t like speaking about this very often. But waking up and hearing that news was not great, to say the least. I’m still a little bit shocked and trying to take it all in but I do feel like this is just a step backwards for our country,” Horan said.

The last thing I’ll say on this (at least for now because y’all know I’m not gonna keep my mouth shut about this) is I’d kindly suggest that you look in on your people. There’s a lot of folks right now who are scared. Maybe they live in a state with a trigger law, maybe they’re afraid they’ll miscarry and be accused of a crime, maybe they’re terrified to get pregnant, because what if something goes wrong?

But it goes far beyond that. In his dissent, Clarence Thomas suggested the court wasn’t done. The right to birth control, the right to marry — all of these things are on the table now. And no, these are not hyperbolic concerns. People are afraid. My daughter is among them. Listen and let them grieve. And allow space to grieve yourself.


Jeff Kassouf wrote for ESPN about Ashley Sanchez and the US team moving on without Cat Macario

Kassouf also wrote about Rapinoe’s new role with the team, and how she’s at peace.

Jonathan Tannenwald also wrote about Rapinoe’s new role for the Philly Inquirer.

Tannenwald also wrote a nice story about Naomi Girma

Julie Foudy wrote about the young roster for World Cup qualifying.

The Denver Post wrote about Mallory Pugh coming home.

More from the Denver Post on the Colorado USWNT players.

The Athletic’s Meg Linehan looked at the effort to bring the NWSL to the Bay Area.

Linehan also wrote today about the Angelina Cup.

I wrote about a few things for AP this week: Please click! First off, I spoke Briana Scurry about her new book. Which I highly recommend!

My story on the sports world’s reaction to the Supreme Court

I also wrote about a coalition of groups trying to make sure that labor and human rights are considered at the 2026 World Cup.

Jake Curtis from SI wrote about Alex Morgan’s role with the team.

The Athletic’s Steph Yang looks at the KC Current and investment.

Michael Lewis of Front Row Soccer writes about NWSO player of the month Sophia Smith

Clare Brennan for Just Women’s Sports looks at the state of the NWSL at the international break.

Speaking of Just Women’s sports. Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger joined Snacks.

Megan Rapinoe spoke eloquently, I thought, on Friday about the Supreme Court decision. You can watch or read the transcript below. Because I believe in choice. 😉

Hi everybody. I mean, first of all, obviously it’s good to be back in the crest and seeing all of you. I wish that we could just talk about soccer today. But obviously with the ruling on Roe v. Wade, that takes precedence over everything. It’s hard to put into words how sad a day this is for me personally, for my teammates, for just all of the people out there who this is going to affect. I say this all the time, but pro-choice means that you get to choose. Pro-choice allows other people to be pro-life if that is what works for them, or that is what their beliefs are, or if that is where they’re at in their life.

Pro-life doesn’t allow anybody to make a choice. Obviously you can understand from an individual perspective how difficult it is to live in a country where you have a constant, unrelenting, violent tide against you, an onslaught as a woman. And it would be, as a gay person and as a non-binary person, as a trans person, whoever this is going to affect, because it affects a lot more than just women, or cis women, it really does affect us all. If people are seeing this, beyond that, I would just encourage people to try to understand the intersectionality of this.

I am a cis-gendered rich white woman that lives in two of the most progressive cities in the world with protection of not only myself and my resources, but this resource and this protection, as are all of my teammates, not everyone is afforded that. We know that this will disproportionately affect poor women, Black women, brown women, immigrants, women in abusive relationships, women who have been raped, and girls who have been raped by family members. Who, you know what, maybe just didn’t make the best choice. And that’s no reason to be forced to have a pregnancy. It will completely exacerbate so many of the existing inequalities that we have in our country.

It doesn’t keep not one single person safer. It doesn’t keep not one single child safer, certainly. And it does not keep one single, inclusive term, woman safer. We know that the lack of abortion does not stop people from having abortions. It stops people from having safe abortions. I would encourage people to understand all of the different aspects that overturning Roe v. Wade will have on so many — actually on everyone in the entire country.

I just can’t understate how sad and how cruel this is. I think the cruelty is the point, because this is not pro-life by any means. This way of thinking or political belief is coupled with a complete lack of motivation around gun laws. It comes with pro death penalty. It comes with anti-health care, anti-prenatal care, anti-childcare, anti-pre-K, anti-food assistance, anti-welfare anti-education, anti-maternity leave, anti-paternity leave. This is not pro-life. And it’s very frustrating and disheartening and frankly just infuriating. To hear that be the reason that people are wanting to end abortion rights and this vital aspect of a woman’s not only healthcare and general basic safety in this country, but her bodily autonomy and the right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness and liberty is being assaulted. It’s just incredibly disheartening.

There are an infinite amount of reasons why a woman chooses to do what she does with her body or what they do with their body, none of which are anybody else’s business. And I just, again, it’s just so disheartening and so sad because some people will be okay, but most people will not, most people are not in a position or have the resources or whatever the case may be to protect themselves. And so to have the entirety of the U.S. government say to people’s faces, say to women’s faces, we do not care. We are going to force our belief system, which is deeply rooted in a white supremacist patriarchal Christianity. We are going to force that upon you. First of all, your religion is a choice and it is a belief that YOU have. It is not my belief and it is not many people’s beliefs, and it certainly is not the law of the land. And it certainly in the context of Roe v. Wade is not the will of the country, and that has been explicit for so long.

The makeup of the court is ill-equipped to handle this kind of decision. Frankly, a majority male court making decisions about my body or any other woman’s body is completely misguided and wildly out of touch with the desires of the country, the will of the country and the will of the people. And I think they acting incredibly irresponsibly and inappropriately.

I think I’ll just end with pro-choice means that we all get to decide what is best for us, because that is our right as a human being in this country. And frankly, I believe, in the world. And pro-life does not allow anything other than one very strict religious view, frankly, and belief system to be forced upon everyone else. So this will obviously have very wide ranging effects when it comes to racism, and transphobia and homophobia and inequality and will exacerbate so many of the existing issues that we have in our country — particularly as we come out of COVID as the economic situation will likely continue to deteriorate for so many people. It’s a really sad day. It’s a really hard thing to deal with for all of us. And again, I encourage people to take a step back and come from a place of compassion and humanity. And understand that just because I believe something doesn’t mean everybody else has to, and we all get to make our own choices, but ultimately we need to come from a place of love, respect, and autonomy to do what we feel is best for us.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Annie Peterson