Megan Rapinoe Speaks Out Against The Capitol Riot, First Woman To Officiate In The Super Bowl Ever, & Cheerleaders Have Little to Cheer For
Megan Rapinoe Speaks Out Against The Capitol Riot
By Zac Cornell
USWNT superstar Megan Rapinoe spoke out at a media conference against the attack on the Capitol building, exemplifying why she has become a prominent spokesperson for equal rights around the world. Rapinoe said that she believes the Trump-loving mob that descended on Washington, D.C. is motivated by race and that Americans must finally reckon with our underlying racism problem. As reported in The Guardian, Rapinoe said, “Hopefully [it’s] the final straw for so many people to really understand the reason that we’re here is because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is. This is America. Make no mistake about it. I think we showed very much our true colors. This is not the first time we’ve seen a murderous mob like that. Unleashing a white supremacy mob is nothing new to America as people of color, black and brown, know very well.”
Rapinoe, who has regularly expressed extreme disapproval of President Trump, added, “It’s just striking how horrible it was, and just how insane it was, from the climate in the country being such that we have our political leaders, our chief political leader, inciting an actual real-life murderous and deadly insurrection against his own government, against his own people, against his own party.”
The athlete also expressed strong support for legal action against all of the perpetrators, saying, “All the calls for unity and moving forward obviously cannot come without justice. If we do not punish this and investigate this to the fullest extent, it only encourages more of this to happen.” She continued, “We should not underestimate what could have happened. I think we are very lucky that that officer led that mob away from the Senate. We saw people with weapons and people with zip ties and they put a gallows up outside the Capitol building where they were chanting to hang the vice-president of the United States. So anybody thinking, ‘Oh well, they really wouldn’t have done that much and I think we should give them sort of a pass’. Maybe we haven’t seen this in our lifetimes, but I think that we should make no mistake about what the intent was. It was a murderous moment. Five people are dead and we can’t bring them back.”
As politicians and people around the country are grappling with the shock of the riot and trying to understand how our country’s divisiveness has come to this, Rapinoe has explanations and hopes for Americans and lawmakers. “Hopefully this is the last layer that we needed to rip off, although it’s been abundantly clear for a number of hundred years what the real issue is,” she said. “This was about white supremacy, and holding up white supremacy, and I hope that we can see this and move forward with justice. I think that’s the only way that we can actually move forward. I think it’s all out in the open, it’s all stripped bare, and so hopefully the lawmakers will have the courage to do what needs to be done and every day citizens as well.”
When asked about a Trump supporter that was photographed wearing a USWNT sweatshirt after participating in the Capitol protest, 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 will 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.”
Rapinoe added of US Women’s soccer, “We want to create, and continue to create, a place that is inclusive and safe and diverse for our fans and for our players to play in front of and for people to watch on TV and for the media to cover. So don’t bring that bulls**t here.”
The NFL Has Named A Woman To Officiate In The Super Bowl For The First Time In History
Sarah Thomas will make history as the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl. The NFL announced the officiating team for Super Bowl LV on Tuesday, January 19th and assigned Thomas as the game’s Down Judge.
This is not the first time that Thomas made NFL history. On January 13th, 2019, she became the first woman to officiate an NFL playoff game, between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. Additionally, she became the NFL’s first female full-time official when she was hired in 2015.
“Sarah Thomas has made history again as the first female Super Bowl official,” NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent said. “Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl. Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor.”
Sarah will join the seven person crew of on-field officials led by Referee Carl Cheffers, a 21-year veteran NFL official. This is Cheffers’ second Super Bowl, having also served as referee for Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. Rounding out the team is Fred Bryan as Umpire, Rusty Baynes as Line Judge, James Coleman as Field Judge, Eugene Hall as Side Judge, Dino Paganelli as Back Judge, and Mike Wimmer as Replay Official.
Super Bowl LV will take place on Sunday, February 7 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
Cheerleaders Have Little to Cheer For
By Blake Goodman
“They are indentured servants with pom-poms” says lawyer of Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader Lauren Herington. Herington decided enough was enough when cheerleaders, women who put their own demands aside in order for men to make millions, were being paid extremely low wages on top of demanding practice schedules.
Lauren Herington was not the first cheerleader to identity problems in their working environment. The Buffalo Jills, cheerleaders for football team Buffalo Bills, formed a brief union in 1990 and expressed their opinions on the pay gap, and fought for their emotional, physical, and even sexual rights. Unfortunately, this union was shut down by management and mere progress was made. Similar struggles prohibit these women from taking a stand against big time sports teams. Despite the large pay gap, these women are being pushed to the edge- emotionally and physically.
The disparity between cheerleaders and player’s salaries serves an even larger issue considering teams have the money to pay these female athletes- but are simply opting not to. Rather than using their billions to reward these hard working athletes, teams are dispersing their money to their players, refs, and even mascots. This misfortune for cheerleaders is never looked upon with sympathy, considering no one is aware of the gravity of the sport. Mary Clinton, union organizer and former NCAA Division 1 Cheerleader, claims that “It should come as no surprise that cheerleading is hard and demanding work, both physically and emotionally” . However, for many, it is a huge shock. Sports fanatics, laborist activists, and even feminists are not supportive of cheerleaders, considering they are not informed of the athlete’s behind-the-scenes challenges.
“It’s really a microcosm into what all women are facing right now in the workplace, battling these stereotypes and these hypocritical standards that we’re faced with,” Yu Gu, director of A Womans Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem, told CNN Sport. Cheerleaders are constantly battling between portraying their peppy, provocative “roles”, or fighting against rape culture, toxic masculitnity, and mere gender inequality. Gu believes that “ the women themselves need to be empowered to really evolve their roles, to evolve their industry, and sort of even the creative aspect of who they are.” Once cheerleaders establish their identity in society and ban together, they must force people to open their ears to what they have to say.