Conservative firebrand Megyn Kelly accused women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe of ‘setting a terrible example’ after she refused to sing the national anthem during her last appearance.
Following a 2-0 victory against South Africa on September 24, Megan Rapinoe stepped away from the U.S. women’s national soccer team.
Two days later, Kelly slammed the soccer star in an episode of her eponymous podcast, The Megyn Kelly Show.
She deemed the athlete’s display ‘her last middle finger to the United States.’
‘Scowling with her hands behind her back as the little girls in front of her put their hands on their heart,’ Kelly said.She claimed the country made Rapinoe rich, ‘gave her a college scholarship’ and ‘gave her $7million a year reportedly in endorsements and fees’ for playing soccer.
‘She doesn’t say one word. She doesn’t touch her heart. She looks angry the entire time she’s out there,’ Kelly said.
‘She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Biden, the highest civilian honor in the land.
‘Her relationship with Sue Bird, a lesbian relationship, has been celebrated by virtually every magazine and in every media corner and still, she can’t find even the gesture of putting her hand on her heart.’
She accused the athlete of setting a poor example for young girls, including those in attendance at the game.
‘All I can say is, thank God those girls were looking forward and not looking back at Megan Rapinoe,’ Kelly said, adding that Rapinoe was ‘no role model.’
She finished emphatically: ‘And I hope she rides off into the sunset to be alone with Sue Bird. I hope I never have to listen to her comment on any soccer game or anything in the future because she doesn’t deserve it.’
Rapinoe’s refusal to sing the national anthem follows years of disruptive advocacy. Throughout her career, she remained a staunch advocate for equal pay and human rights.
But her outspoken nature has opened her up to criticism from media personalities like Kelly who find her conduct arrogant and unpatriotic.In 2012, Rapinoe came out as a lesbian, drawing vitriol from anti-LGBT critics.
She was an early supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and was slammed for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
Years later, she drew ire after an old video resurfaced that showed her autographing a ball at the 2019 ESPY Awards without acknowledging the young fan in front of her.
The athlete hit back at critics during the 2019 Women’s World Cup, describing herself as ‘particularly and uniquely and very deeply American.’
She told members of the media: ‘If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, the song and the anthem, and what we were founded on, I think I’m extremely American.’
The soccer star admitted that she was ‘not perfect,’ but suggested that the country was not either.
‘Yes, we are a great country, and there are many things that are so amazing and I feel very fortunate to be in this country. I would never be able to do this in a lot of other places,’ she said.
‘But also: that doesn’t mean we can’t get better. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always strive to be better.’
Kelly herself is no stranger to controversy. Formerly of Fox News, the journalist was one of over 20 women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and prompted his resignation.
She subsequently joined NBC as the host of Megyn Kelly Today, but her tenure was cut short when her defense of blackface Halloween costumes landed her in hot water.
During the ill-fated October 2018 episode, Kelly faced pushback from her own panelists.
‘If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,’ said author and television host Melissa Rivers. ‘Whatever happened to just, manners and polite society?’
NBC announced that the show had been cancelled just six days later.
Kelly has since launched a production company called Devil May Care Media, featuring her self-titled podcast.
The show has accrued 447 million views on YouTube and earned her nearly 1.5 million subscribers.