Megan Rapinoe doesn’t deserve a Medal of Freedom

Mexico Soccer Concacaf Women´s Championship
United States’ Megan Rapinoe sits on the bench prior to a CONCACAF Women’s Championship soccer match against Haiti in Monterrey, Mexico, Monday, July 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Megan Rapinoe doesn’t deserve a Medal of Freedom

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President Joe Biden is using the Presidential Medal of Freedom to sow division.

The Biden administration last week released its list of 17 recipients of the medal. One of those recipients is soccer player Megan Rapinoe. Most people who know of Rapinoe don’t know her for playing for the U.S. women’s national soccer team. They know about her because of her divisive political actions.

Rapinoe has repeatedly disrespected this country by kneeling during the national anthem. This is a purposely divisive action meant to invoke anger among the public to attract attention to oneself. Not only does that harm the country’s social cohesion and fuel culture wars, but doing so also goes directly against the mission of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The federation governs the men’s and women’s national teams. The organization’s mission statement says that it wants ”to make soccer, in all its forms, the preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.”

How does Rapinoe kneeling for the national anthem and making divisive statements grow the game of soccer? It doesn’t.

It’s more likely to make people have a negative opinion about the team and possibly the sport. One of soccer’s main problems is that it’s not regarded as a major American sport despite being the most popular sport in the world. Throwing some needless anti-Americanism into the game probably won’t help that image.

And while kneeling is the clearest example of Rapinoe fueling division, it’s not her only divisive action. She has promoted men who call themselves transgender participating in women’s sports under the guise of transgender acceptance. Last month, Rapinoe slammed the Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade, sending abortion laws back to the states. She called the decision “cruel.”

Not to mention, she implied on Twitter that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is racist for opposing the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court — as if there weren’t valid reasons to oppose her confirmation.

Rapinoe’s inclusion on the Medal of Freedom list is unfortunate. For all of its flaws, the U.S. is a great country. We should want our national team athletes to be great ambassadors for their respective sports. It’s an opportunity to encourage youth athletic participation, which has many physical and academic benefits.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor a civilian can receive. The White House says it gives the awards to “individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

It’s sad but not surprising that in its Medal of Freedom honorees, the Biden administration would choose division over unity. While the president’s abysmal approval rating has a lot to do with his incompetence on inflation, economics, and foreign policy, being divisive socially and culturally doesn’t help either.

For the Biden administration, this should have been a simple decision: Rapinoe refused to honor this country and expressed vitriol toward people who disagreed with her. Our country shouldn’t honor her, either.

Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports) is a political reporter for the New Boston Post in Massachusetts.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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