Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has denounced last week’s riots in the US Capitol as “a huge stain on the country.”
Rapinoe, who has returned to US Women’s National Team (USWNT) duty for the first time in nearly a year, spoke to reporters at length about the insurrection on January 6 that saw a pro-Trump mob force its way into the Capitol.
In the wake of the deadly riots, criminal defendants have been rounded up across the country, with some accused of bringing weapons and bombs to Capitol Hill.
“This is America, make no mistake about it,” Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup winner who has made 168 appearances for the USWNT, said on Tuesday.
“I think we showed very much our true colors. This is not the first time we have seen a murderous mob like that.
“Unleashing a White supremacy mob is nothing new to America as people of color, Black and Brown, know that very well.”
Rioters vandalized the iconic Capitol building and its congressional offices last Wednesday as representatives and senators were protected and evacuated. Five people died as a result of the violence.
“If we do not punish this and investigate this to the fullest extent it only encourages more of this to happen,” Rapinoe continued.
“This week certainly will be hugely consequential in the history of our country, it’s going to be very intense.
“Just from a personal standpoint it’s very unsettling and scary … This was about White supremacy and holding up White supremacy and I hope that we can see this and move forward with justice.”
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump insisted his speech inciting the riot at the US Capitol was “totally appropriate” while at the same time calling for “no violence” in his first public remarks to reporters after the insurrection last week.
On top of her contributions on the field, scoring 52 goals for her country, Rapinoe has long been a leading voice against social inequality and racial injustice in the US.
The 35-year-old was among the first White professional athletes to kneel in solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and labeled herself a “walking protest” ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Asked on Tuesday about a photo of an individual wearing a Trump mask and the USWNT crest, Rapinoe said: “I feel like I can probably speak on behalf of a lot of my teammates — that is not the kind of fan that we would welcome.
“The US crest is not to be confused with anything that has to do with White supremacy, anything that has to do with the Trump administration, anything that has to do with that divisive culture that we saw on the Capitol.
“Don’t take any comfort in thinking that the crest is synonymous with that or the red, white and blue or the stars that we have above it.
“I saw the picture. We want to create and continue to create a place that’s inclusive and safe and diverse … don’t bring that bullsh*t here.”
The USWNT plays its first game of 2021 against Colombia on January 19 in Florida before looking to defend its SheBelieves Cup title in February.
At the Olympics in Tokyo later this year, the team will bid to win its fifth gold medal.