Former U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo said Megan Rapinoe bullied teammates into kneeling before games.
“I think the rhetoric surrounding this team has been both divisive and inclusive. I guess it’s kind of where we are in politics in this day and age,” Solo told Goal.com.
“I think the kneeling thing can be very divisive,” Solo continued. “I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way.”
Members of the USWNT, including Megan Rapinoe, knelt before matches and said it was to show solidarity with others fighting inequality. The team joined Great Britain, Chile, Sweden, and New Zealand by taking a pre-match knee prior to their first Olympic contests.
However, not every player has kneeled — Carli Lloyd, one of the team’s biggest US stars, has not.
However, Solo reportedly left the USWNT around a month before Megan Rapinoe first took a knee. Solo left the team in August 2016 and Rapinoe first started kneeling during the national anthem on 4th September 2016. but she and Rapinoe were teammates for 10 years beginning in 2006, winning a World Cup and two Olympic gold medals together.
Rapinoe has also vocally backed equal pay in women’s sports and met with President Biden on Equal Pay Day in March to discuss the matter.
“Despite all of the wins, I am still paid less than men who do the same job that I do. For each trophy — of which there are many — for each win, each tie and for each time that we play, it’s less,” she said on stage after the meeting.
The U.S. WNT took home the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, in a 4-3 victory over Australia.