- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2019

Soccer star and frequent Trump critic Megan Rapinoe has been tapped as the face of Nike’s latest ad campaign.

Ms. Rapinoe — the co-captain of the U.S. team which won the women’s World Cup in July — will be joined by Binx Walton and John Waters in modeling a shoe collection in a partnership between Nike and Nordstrom, according to The New York Post.

Ms. Rapinoe became a well known Trump critic in the midst of the competition in June when a months-old video was posted online by Eight by Eight magazine where she said she or the team weren’t going to the “f–– White House” if the Americans won the World Cup.

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Mr. Trump responded: “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 invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose.”

After the U.S. won the World Cup, Ms. Rapinoe told CNN no one on the team had “any interest” in going to The White House.

“I don’t think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we’ve worked hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life,” she said. “I don’t think we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration.”

She said in July the team accepted invitations to go to Washington and visit Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and “anyone else that wants to invite us and have a substantive conversation and believe in the same things we believe in.”

It is unclear whether that meetings happened.

Ms. Rapinoe — who has also been a vocal supporter of equal pay in women’s sports — is not the first outspoken athlete Nike has made the face of an advertising campaign.

A Nike ad campaign in 2018 drew criticism after including former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick saying: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Mr. Kaepernick has been a controversial figure after he protested racial disparities and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. During the controversy, many condemned him as disrespecting the flag and military veterans, and Mr. Kaepernick has remained unsigned for three years.

The advertisement created calls of Nike boycotts over its perceived support of Mr. Kaepernick that went all the way up to President Trump.

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” he tweeted. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

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