Hope Solo, a former goalkeeper on the U.S. women’s soccer team, criticized current star Megan Rapinoe’s politicking as divisive and bullying.
Ms. Rapinoe and some other team members have kneeled before recent matches, including at the Olympics, calling the gesture an act of solidarity against inequality. That has prompted criticism of the “woke” team, including by former President Donald Trump.
Ms. Solo said in an interview with Goal.com that Ms. Rapinoe is using the team to promote her own ideas and pushing fans away in the name of inclusivity.
“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,” Ms. Solo told Goal on the website’s podcast All of Us: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show.
“I think the kneeling thing can be very divisive,” she added.
Ms. Solo played alongside Ms. Rapinoe before having her contract terminated by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2016.
“I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way, but it’s our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we’re comfortable with,” she said.
Newsweek pointed out that Ms. Solo played her last game for the U.S. women’s team a month before Ms. Rapinoe first knelt before the pregame performance of the national anthem.