Megan Rapinoe calls out homophobia in FIFA female player of the year acceptance speech
Megan Rapinoe used her platform as FIFA’s Best Women’s Player in the World to draw attention to the “rampant homophobia” LGBT+ players experience on the pitch.
The lesbian soccer star also called out racism and the gender pay gap as she accepted the Golden Ball award at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony in Milan, Italy.
Speaking to an audience that included many professional footballers, she nodded to some of the players who inspired her most this year.
She paid tribute to Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, who both face “disgusting racism”, Collin Martin, the only openly gay Major League Soccer player, and “the countless other female out LGBTQ players who fight so hard everyday to a) just play the sport that they love, but b) also, despite the rampant homophobia that we have.”
She continued: “If we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring would be if everyone other than Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, if they were as outraged as racism as they were.
Megan Rapinoe hails Raheem Sterling and many others after winning Best FIFA Women’s Player at #TheBestAwards 2019
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 23, 2019
“If everybody was as outraged about homophobia as the LGBTQ players… If everybody was as outraged about equal pay or the lack thereof or the lack of investment in the women’s game other than just women, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.”
She concluded her speech by urging other players to use their privilege to call for positive change.
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“That’s my ask of everybody,” she said. “We have such an incredible opportunity being professional football players. We have so much success, financial and otherwise.
“We have incredible platforms. I ask everyone here, because I think everyone in this room probably has that crown at their bearing, lend your platform to other people, lift other people up, share your success.”
The co-captain of the United States Women’s National Team is already making the most of her public platform by scoring two book deals with Penguin Press.
The first book will be about her life on and off the pitch, while the second will be a children’s title about “the power young people have within their own communities and the world at large.”