Megan Rapinoe and the rest of World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s Soccer team were honored in New York City Wednesday in a ticker tape parade culminating in a ceremony in front of City Hall. A couple of days before the big celebration, the New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force started a hate crime investigation related to posters featuring Rapinoe, who is openly gay and emphatically anti-Trump.
“The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating after posters of USA soccer star Megan Rapinoe were vandalized in a subway station,” CNN reported Wednesday. “Eight posters featuring Rapinoe in her US Women’s National Team jersey included homophobic and defamatory slurs along with the phrase ‘screw this h–,’ the NYPD told CNN.”
“Hate has no place in the transit system and we work hard to make the subway a welcoming, safe environment for everyone,” said MTA Deputy Communications Director Shams Tarek in a statement reported by CNN.
Authorities say the vandalism of the Rapinoe posters was first reported early Monday morning at the West 42nd Street subway station. Some of the vandalized posters were cleaned off, while others were replaced with new posters, Tarek said.
CNN notes that Rapinoe, who was the MVP of the tournament, was given special honor during the celebration Wednesday, walking out last holding the World Cup to raucous applause.
Rapinoe has emphatically presented herself as part of the “resistance” against President Trump, describing herself as a “walking protest” of his administration because of her identity as an openly gay woman. She was the first high-profile women’s soccer player to join former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in protesting the national anthem and has continued her anthem protest by refusing to put her hand over her heart after U.S soccer forbid players to kneel, an act she called an “F you” to Trump.
In late June, Rapinoe made clear that she would turn down an offer to visit the White House should her team win the World Cup. “I’m not going to the f*****g White House,” she told soccer magazine Eight By Eight in a brief video interview. “No. I’m not going to the White House. We’re not gonna be invited. I doubt it.”
Though she suggested Trump wouldn’t invite them, he has, but not without a sharp rebuke of her anthem protests and disrespect of the White House.
“I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job! We haven’t yet,” Trump tweeted in response to Rapinoe’s preemptive rejection of an invite. “We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose.”
“Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team,” Trump added. “Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”
Rapinoe’s teammates Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger have also expressed criticism of the Trump administration and suggested that they would likewise turn down a White House invite.
Despite the public feud, Trump congratulated the team after its big win Sunday, tweeting, “Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!”